Addiction Treatment Letter
When the gambling compacts were drawn up between the state and the
tribes in 2001, there was a requirement for one-quarter of one
percent of their gambling income to be spent on treatment of
addicted gamblers and prevention of gambling addiction.
This requirement was to be met by both the tribal casinos
and the racetrack casinos. The
that the statutes require, based on the quarter percent, would be
about one and a half million dollars a year.
There was no contribution requirement made of the veterans and
fraternal organizations that run slot machines.
The New Mexico State Lottery was encouraged but now
required to donate money for the treatment of gambling addicts.
The state lottery has spent a small amount on treatment,
but has spent millions per year on advertising, thus increasing
the number of gambling addicts who are destroying themselves and
Although the compacts required money to be spent on treating
gambling addicts, they did not stipulate who would be responsible
for dispersing treatment and prevention money, and what
qualifications were needed to obtain that money.
As a result, the tracks and the tribal casinos disperse the
money to whomever they please, which appears to be everyone from
qualified treatment providers to unqualified friends and
In the July-August New Mexico Gaming Control Board newsletter
earlier this year, the Gaming Control Board boasted about their stewardship
and accountability by insuring that 12 million dollars in
gambling addiction treatment money was distributed to health
sent a certified letter to the New Mexico Gaming Control Board,
asking them for a breakdown on the money spent by the tracks (the
tribes are not required to report to the NMGCB on their gambling
addiction treatment payments) on treatment and prevention. The
NMGCB executive director replied with two interesting bits of
First, he said that they made a mistake, as the money dispersed
was only one million dollars, rather than 12 million. That is a 1,200% error!!
I wonder how many other self-serving errors they have made
in their reports to the people of New Mexico.
The executive director replied in the letter that they
would correct that error in a subsequent newsletter.
They did not make a retraction of the error in the
September-October NMGCB Newsletter.
Right now they have the public thinking it was $12 million,
so they are not likely to admit their mistake unless more pressure
is put on them. Maybe
this letter will help put that pressure.
Second, The executive director responded that they had no
knowledge of where the tracks were sending treatment and
prevention money. A
reporter recently asked the Board to see their accounting records
on treatment money and was told that state law required them to
keep that information confidential. A lawyer looked into the state gambling law for us, and said
that although the board was not required by state law to
relinquish the information, they were not required to keep it
confidential, either. They made their own confidentiality
rules, so revealing their records is completely at their own
discretion, and they could make new rules to make them public if
they wanted to. It is
obvious that they want to keep this information secret. WHY? WHO
BENEFITS FROM THIS?
According to State Public Health research several years ago, over
40 thousand New Mexico citizens would be classified as “serious
problem gamblers.” New
Mexico has a huge problem with gambling addicts, but the New
Mexico Gaming Control Board wants to keep their records on
treatment money secret. The
NMGCB is supposed to be
protecting citizens in the state, but they seem to be more
concerned about protecting the racetracks from public scrutiny.
The Associated Press reported that Governor Richardson has
received over $600,000 in campaign contributions for his political
endeavors from the gambling “industry.” Governor
Richardson has shown his willingness to get involved in gambling
matters by promoting a new racetrack in Hobbs, and appointing as
state gaming representative a man who had been selling slot
machines to a tribal casino in California that was operating
for gambling addicts would be a much better area for Governor
Richardson to get involved in.
The New Mexico Gaming Control Board serves at Governor
Richardson’s pleasure. If
he wants gambling addicts to get proper treatment, he can get the
Board to open their books, or he can appoint a new Board. Also, if he is serious about helping citizens in New Mexico,
he can put gambling addiction treatment legislation on the call
for the 2004 legislative session.
The question is, will he act to get treatment money where
it belongs, or will he protect his gambling “industry”
contributors from public examination?
There is supposed to be about one and a half million dollars a
year spent on gambling addiction treatment and prevention in the
state, and the state agency responsible for monitoring that
activity refuses to allow the information to be made public.
There is no way for the public or the press to determine
where this money is being spent, and whether it is being wisely
spent or misappropriated.
THINGS NEED TO CHANGE!!
The New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling will be proposing
legislation during the 2004 legislative session that would require
the tribal casinos, the tracks, the state lottery, and charitable
organizations to all contribute one quarter of one percent of
gambling revenue for treatment and prevention of gambling
addiction. We are also proposing that the legislature create a new
sub-agency under the Department of Health, responsible for
distributing this money to qualified treatment groups, clinics and
individuals. The law
would require that all treatment and prevention money raised by
the gambling providers be sent directly to this sub-agency for
Richardson has the power to put these items on the call,
especially if the tribal gambling compacts are being renegotiated.
The legislature can vote for such legislation if they want
to help those damaged by gambling addiction.
It’s high time that health professionals were in charge of
distributing the treatment money, instead of the gambling
The New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling would like to
recruit your support in our effort to modify the gambling compacts
and state law. The tribes are trying to get the legislature to
approve some modifications to the gambling compacts, which would
open this whole area up to legislative consideration.
We will be lobbying the state legislature during the 30-day
2004 legislative session. We
will keep you up to date on the progress of our legislative
proposals. We hope you will organize within your respective groups to
lobby the legislature on this and other worthy topics.
We usually have six or seven volunteer lobbyists that work
with the legislature each year.
We need more people to work with us.
If you or any of your associates would like to work with us
lobbying the legislature, we can train you and provide the
organization to make our efforts more effective.
Please contact me at the e-mail address or phone numbers
We are also in need of more money to carry out our plans.
We spend money on such things as mailing correspondence
such as this, on manufacture of posters, bumper stickers, and
campaign buttons. We also pay a very fine lawyer for his out-of-pocket
expenses, but he donates his time pro-bono.
We have no salaries to pay, no withholding to make, and no
insurance premiums to cover.
We lobby the legislature on bills and legislation, so your
contributions will not be tax-deductible, but will provide an
important service to the state and its citizens.
Please use the return envelope enclosed, and make the
checks out to the New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling.
We appreciate your support.
Dr. Guy C. Clark, executive director
New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling
p.s. We now receive
our checks and correspondence at: New Mexico Coalition Against
720 Vassar Dr.
Albuquerque, NM 87106