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Opponents of gambling expansion concerned about overwhelming debt

Wisconsin already has 20 Indian casinos, but tribe members are fighting to open more. Opponents of more casinos argue that the state is already saturated with casinos, and some Appleton gamblers may agree, especially if they are one of the several thousand Wisconsin gamblers struggling to eliminate debt that accumulated from gambling.

The opponents of gambling expansion argued that Wisconsin's five percent drop in gambling revenue from 2007 to 20011 indicated that the market is already saturated with casinos. The opponents argue that just last year alone, gamblers wagered $16 billion at Wisconsin casinos, which is a $282 million decrease from the amount wagered in 2007. However, a tribe spokesperson defended that the decrease is due solely to the slumbering economy and not a saturation of the market. One group that opposes the expansion noted that, while gambling is a personal decision, the ramifications can affect society as a whole. The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling reported 14,464 calls last year from people struggling with gambling debt, an increase of seven percent from 2011. The average debt of those who sought help was $38,500.

Gambling addictions can lead to serious debt problems. A casino within 50 miles of a person's home can increase the risk of having a gambling problem by up to 50 percent, according to one study. While gambling was intended to be a fun game, it can sometimes get out of hand, leading to overwhelming debt and financial challenges. Fortunately for many debtors who find themselves in this predicament, help is available through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate gambling debts, and give the person a fresh start financially.

Appleton consumers, who find they are struggling with overwhelming debt, including gambling debt, should consult a debt relief counselor to determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option. Help is also available for gambling addictions that lead to overwhelming debt.

Source: Journal Sentinel Online, "Casino foes cite downturn in arguing against expansion," April 1, 2013.

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