Montana bottoms out on revenue from gambling but has plenty of play

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Montana has an estimated 17,226 (2.2%) of its citizenship who are believed to be problem gamblers. Since the estimate is from a survey that depends on truthful self-reporting, it is likely a low estimate in part because it is hard to admit a problem and also because a compulsive gambler does not believe they have a problem. 

Montana has 15,087 electronic machines, Indian casinos, commercial casinos, a lottery, video lottery, pari-mutual wagering and charitable gaming. The total revenue reported in 2012 was $71.5 million (49th nationally) and has no public funding for services. A non-profit organization called the Montana Council on Problem Gambling (MCPG) provides services and affiliates with the (NCPG). They are funded from non-tribal gaming operators, training and/ or registration fees from conferences as well as other donors. Their budget for 2013 was $167,518 from those sources and equates to 17 cents per capita.

The MCPG contracts with 24 providers in the state and reports that 1,243 problem gamblers and 143 others received outpatient services.  Montana’s gaming industry funds a helpline directly which directs calls to the National hotline contracting with the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems.

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