Less funding for gambling addiction services in proposed state budget

MGM Springfield is set to open in 2018, and Wynn Boston Harbor in 2019

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has proposed $1.25 million for gambling addiction services, but that’s $250,000 dollars less than last year.

With casinos opening across the state and online gambling set to expand, the Massachusetts Council on compulsive gambling said cuts to gambling addiction services couldn’t come at a worse time.

Some residents feel these services are seriously needed.

“I know some friends of mine they gamble, continuously,” Max Obolensky of Chicopee told 22News. “It’s in the human nature to gamble, so there’s quite a good percentage that will still gamble. There should be a rehab for that, definitely.”

The state’s proposed 2018 budget slashes spending on problem gambling services by 17 percent. MGM Springfield is set to open in 2018, and Wynn Boston Harbor in 2019.

MGM Springfield has said they plan to donate a significant amount every year to the state’s public health department for services for compulsive gamblers.

Not everyone thinks it would hurt to trim money from gambling addiction services.

“Should be no funding at all for addiction,” Edward Shvetsov said. “People if they cannot control themselves should not be gambling. Funds, for wherever they come from for the city should be used for better use, not for like supporting whoever go playing and gambling.”

Governor Baker has until early next week to approve the 2018 budget.