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Bill Would Require Certification of Gambling Counselors

29 May 2003

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- Gov. Kenny Guinn on Wednesday signed a bill that requires state certification of counselors who help problem gamblers. Senate Bill 351 adds gambling addiction certification to the state Board of Examiners for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors. Certification fees will fund the addition of two gambling experts to the board.

The bill is a newer version of one that called for creating a separate state board to certify problem gambling counselors.

The bill's passage will improve care for addicted gamblers for years to come by holding providers to a standard of care, said Carol O'Hare, executive director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

"It is truly evidence of the treatment community coming together to find the best solution for problem gambling," she said. Every major state licensing board representing several fields of study lended their support for the bill, she added.

It is also a first step for the state in taking a more active role to help addicted gamblers, she said.

A separate bill that would allocate $250,000 to help treat problem gamblers has stalled in the Senate Finance Committee, where it was introduced in March. It would mark the state's first financial contribution to problem gambling treatment.

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