Formerly Scarce, Gambling Addiction Programs Proliferate Nationwide

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
10/16/2012 – ATIN- As little as five years back, it wasn’t easy to find an addiction treatment drug rehab alcohol rehab that offered treatment for gambling addiction and now, it seems, it’s hard to find a center that doesn’t. There has literally been an 
Recovery Road, a new high quality affordable program in Palm Beach Gardens in South Florida is opening a new gambling program
explosion in program offerings nationwide driven partly by need as legalized gambling proliferates, partly by private centers hurt in a downturn and looking to boost new client flows and, lately, by news that gambling addiction is about to be officially recognized as a disorder by the soon to be published latest edition of the DSM, the bible-like influential manual that is used to establish behavioral health diagnostic baselines.

Day in the Sun

For those specialty gambling clinicians who for years toiled in relative obscurity while shouting from the rooftops about the destruction wrought by pathological wagering, this is their moment in the sun as gambling care finally begins to be considered on par with substance abuse care. Among these hard toilers were the dynamic duo of Arnie and Sheila Wexler, who have now emerged as two of the most recognized names nationwide in the gambling counseling subspecialty. And they recently teamed with a successful new center from Palm Beach, which was lucky to get the highly experienced pair, called Recovery Road. Together they will launch a new gambling program, collaborating with Recovery Road CEO AJ Schreiber, an executive with extensive ties to a chain of nursing homes called Platinum Healthcare who is engineering an aggressive expansion with Platinum into the addiction treatment arena.

Betty Ford Fight

As gambling and other of the so-called “behavioral” addictions like sex, etc…become enshrined in the DSM there is little doubt that, eventually, that will be used to pry dollars from health insurers for treatment. And some centers have seen this as a bit of a salvation in the wake of increased competition and a downturn in private pay. In fact, the desire by outgoing Betty Ford CEO John Schwarzlose to bring gambling treatment into the storied non-profit, just as Malibu hit hard at Betty Ford’s premium spot at California’s high-end, helped prompt a vicious board battle that resulted in Betty Ford’s daughter, and thus the Ford family, being voted off the board. Schwarzlose, who owes much of his rise to becoming treatment’s highest paid non-profit executive to Susan Bales Ford’s mother the former first lady, apparently wanted gambling treatment, Ms. Bales Ford was apparently against it.

The Veterans

Those in a position to clearly benefit from the changed gambling reimbursement outlook are the veterans who for years have had leading gambling programs. Centers like the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery and Montana’s Rimrock Foundation.

read our Special Report “The Wagering Boom”