Concerns about money allotted to the Kansas Problem Gambling and Addictions Fund have carried over from last year. In fact, Gov. Sam Brownback's 2014 budget appears to eliminate the funding entirely.
Concerns about money allotted to the Kansas Problem Gambling and Addictions Fund have carried over from last year. In fact, Gov. Sam Brownback's 2014 budget appears to eliminate the funding entirely. And in Dodge City, where local approval for the presence Boot Hill Casino & Resort hinged largely on the promise of casino revenue going directly to gambling, alcohol and other addictions, that could be a problem. Dodge City resident Debbie Snapp serves as the chair of the Southwest Kansas Problem Gambling Taskforce and is also a member of the area Problem Gambling Alliance. Snapp shared a statement from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), which is responsible for administering the fund, explaining the changes in the 2014 budget: "The Problem Gambling and Addictions Fund (PGAF) receives 2 percent of state gaming resources. Reduced revenue has led to decreased resources. The Governor’s Budget keeps funding level for FY13 but reduces funding in FY 14 for Problem Gambling programs and Substance Use Disorder Grants so as not to overspend the fund." And reducing funds is something Snapp fears could have a bad effect on Dodge City. "We are concerned that if there is not an effort for awareness, prevention, and treatment, there will be a negative outcome for the community," Snapp said in a November interview. "If our grant money goes away, then we have nothing,” she said referring to operating fund for the Southwest Kansas Problem Gambling Taskforce. Snapp voiced her concern to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission in November and said a reallocation of funds would lead to a possible decrease in resources for the Southwest Kansas Problem Gambling Taskforce. Currently, the taskforce receives a $10,000 grant from the state each year, which is used to create awareness of problem gambling through presentations, radio ads and newspaper ads. None of the taskforce members receive any compensation for their time. Snapp added that the taskforce has the sole responsibility of creating awareness in the community; the state not does provide any assistance. But with funds for 2014 possibly eliminated, the idea of lost resources is even more real. In response to the 2014 budget change, KDADS has created a proposal to offset the reduction with Alcoholism Treatment Fund monies. Currently, $6.45 million of the PGAF is used to pay for substance abuse managed care, according to KDADS. Substituting $946,336 in funds from the Alcoholism Treatment Fund would free up $946,336 in PGAF funding to be used for Problem Gambling and Substance Use Disorder Grants. KDADS reported that, under this plan, problem gambling and addictions services will be funded at a level consistent with past fiscal years and avoid a conflict of interest on how money is being spent from the PGAF. According to an article by the Associated Press, the state provided problem gambling services to 140 people in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. House and Senate budget committees have adopted the agency's recommendations in bills currently being assembled. Debate on those bills is expected in the coming weeks.