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Addiction concerns among casino talk

Henrietta, N.Y. -- "My first impression, it was a bad idea."

Carl Dellefave has his own reasons for not wanting a casino in Henrietta or any local community.

He is a recovering compulsive gambler. Dellefave said he can't even drive by a casino because he doesn't want to be tempted to fall back to his old ways.

He has received treatment for a gambling addiction but admits he fights the temptation every day.

But Dellefave doesn't just oppose a local casino because of his own addiction. He doesn't think casinos boost local economies, beyond creating some jobs.

In fact, he said casinos take business away from other restaurants and hotels because people are lured in and have no reason to leave the casino.

He is urging state and local officials to take their time and weigh this decision before approving building a local casino.

Alfredo Gonzalez said he sees both the good and bad with casinos. He and his girlfriend enjoy an occasional trip to the casino to have fun but don't spend a lot of money.

For them, it's not an addiction, it is something to do.

But Gonzalez has worked with people who have gambling addictions and said he knows how difficult it is to recover from a compulsion like this. He said having a casino nearby could lead to more gambling problems for people who are already vulnerable.

Studies by the Center For Governmental Research in Rochester have found an increase in social problems and gambling addictions in areas in close proximity to casinos.

They also concluded that treating addictions like gambling can cost communities 10 million dollars.

But the same studies also found that casinos do boost local economies, both by creating as many as 800 jobs and 500 secondary jobs and bringing in millions of dollars in revenue.

Dellefave questions the value of casinos, and said instead of building more gaming facilities, the state should provide more money to help treat people with those addictions.

He said state budget cuts have reduced services to people like him who are recovering compulsive gambler and need help to keep from going back to their old ways.

He is urging local leaders to tread carefully and weigh the pros and cons before approving a casino in Henrietta or any local community.


Patrice Walsh, 13WHAM-TV
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