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Senate Wagering Panel Approves Buono Measure To Combat Gambling Addiction

TRENTON – The Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee approved legislation today sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono that would require school health courses to include lessons on compulsive gambling as part of the curriculum.

“With the explosion of internet gambling sites, it has never been easier for children to begin gambling and develop an addiction,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex and Chair of the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. “Our health classes need to teach students about the potential for one to become addicted to gambling and explain how it can be just as harmful as other addictions. It’s a problem that millions of Americans face and we can help our kids recognize the warning signs before it gets out of hand.”

Senator Buono’s bill, S-255, would require that information on compulsive gambling be included as part of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The information would be presented as part of the mental health section of the curriculum. The bill would also require the Commissioner of Education to develop a curriculum framework and appropriate sample learning materials.

“Teenagers are twice as likely as adults to become addicted to gambling,” explained Senator Buono. “The abundance of gambling shows on television has romanticized poker, blackjack and other games of chance and many young people who start playing these games are ill-prepared to deal with the consequences that gambling can have. Education is the key to reducing the impact that the Internet and television are having in promoting gambling among young people.”

The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 5-0. It now goes to the full Senate for approval.