by Mary Rupert
An educational effort to help prevent juvenile gambling is underway in Wyandotte County.
According to Andrica Wilcoxen of the Northeast Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force, the educational effort is now in its second phase.
Information has been passed out to retailers that sell lottery tickets in Wyandotte County, pointing out that it is a felony for anyone to sell a lottery ticket to a minor, Wilcoxen said. Ninety-seven educational packets were delivered to retailers, the packets were paid for with donated funding, and the project is continuing out of the task force’s existing budget, she said.
She said the effort’s other planned phases are for task force representatives to visit retailers with a minor and to give them a warning if a ticket is sold to a minor; then, for law enforcement to visit the retailers; and further educational training. She added the retailers were told in advance that this effort was underway.
Wilcoxen noted that this program to prevent juvenile gambling did not specifically receive state funding recently, as it was decided to transfer $2.5 million in the problem gambling fund to other state uses, such as school finance. The problem gambling fund is mandated by law from 2 percent of the casino revenues.
While its efforts will continue, the task force could get more done with increased funding, she believes.
The Northeast Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force also had requested some administrative help, but that was not funded, she added. As volunteers, task force members all have full-time jobs and donate their time to the task force, she said.
The task force also hopes to educate the community about signs of problem gambling, she said.
Another educational program the task force is sponsoring is a youth rap contest. Students were invited to write a 25-second rap or spoken word about a solution for problem gambling, she said. The winners of the contest, selected by outside judges, will receive a cash prize and their winning entries will be played on a local radio station.
Kansas residents who have a gambling problem and want to seek help may call the problem gambling help line at 800-522-4700, or visit the website ksgamblinghelp.com.