On-line Playing in Michigan Sparks Fears of Rise in Addictions

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Online gambling in Michigan is set to begin on Jan. 22, and many are worried this is only going to increase gambling addiction across the state.

Limited Licensed Psychologist and CEO of Addiction Resource Center Harbor Hall in Petoskey, Patrick McGinn says it’s similar to alcohol or drug addiction. “The behavioral things that happen with people who have problems gambling almost mirrors what you see in other addictive disorders,” he said. “It does act on the same reward centers and you get increased dopamine levels which are the feel good chemicals.”

He says the availability to place bets is going to be too convenient for some to resist. “We’re going to see more gambling addiction. This is going to be too easy. It’s going to be too easy to get involved in. It’s going to be too easy to sign off your paycheck and put it into when you’re doing things online.”

McGinn believes people will start seeing the effects soon. “You might see people that are going to like the women’s resource center or the food pantry to make ends meet or going to Salvation Army to help pay their bills,” he said. “So that’s kind of where I think we’re going to initially see the impact.”

His best advice is for friends and families to watch out for those struggling with addiction. Those struggling with gambling addiction should call the Michigan  Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-270-7117.