gambling machine southern Illinois

MARION,IL — A new gambling addiction treatment resource is coming to southern Illinois. With Illinois expanding gaming services and plans for a new casino underway, Centerstone has started offering a treatment for gambling addictions. 

Gaming machines are all over southern Illinois. You can find them in bars, gas stations and even inside a cupcake shop. Mike Martinek works at PK's Bar in Carbondale. The bar has been offering gaming for years. Although he doesn't know anyone with a gambling addiction, he said he can see how it happens.

"Whenever somebody that didn't play before and they put some money in and win a big one, they say 'I can do that again.' It doesn't happen that way,"said Martinek. 

With Illinois expanding gaming services, there will be more machines and more people hoping to win big. Centerstone Clinical Manager Julie Bailey said gamblers have the highest suicide rate of any addiction. Centerstone was recently awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to treat people with gambling disorders.

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"Individuals losing their homes, their retirement, and then often their marriages as well — with the assistance of this grant, we'll be able to not only help the gambler, but their families as well," said Bailey.

Martinek said he believes a service that provides personal treatment is a good idea. "That could help people more than calling an 800-number and talking to a faceless person. You can actually see other people in your community and say 'Oh, they have a problem too," said Martinek.

The program is a first for Centerstone, and they're hoping it makes a big difference in the community. Bailey said the need is great in southern Illinois.

Centerstone is now accepting patients for the gambling treatment program.