PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Lottery has chosen Cranston-based Codac Behavioral Healthcare to provide treatment for people battling gambling addiction, the Associated Press reported. The nonprofit health organization will begin offering services for compulsive gambling on Monday, Aug. 12.
The services through Codac will serve as an interim program while the Lottery readies a Request for Proposal for a more permanent problem gambling program, Lottery Director Gerald Aubin told Providence Business News. The RFP is still under review by the Division of Purchases and may be ready in the next few months, Aubin said.
Although legal gambling in the Ocean State has grown with the recent introduction of table games at Twin River Casino, in July a state-funded gambling addiction program at Rhode Island Hospital ended after 12 years, according to the AP report published by Boston.com.
The state originally allotted that program $150,000, then more than halved the figure last year before cutting it entirely in fiscal 2013, the AP reported.
Twin River and Newport Grand Casino together must contribute a minimum $100,000 to the R.I. Lottery for a gambling addiction program, Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle told PBN.
Under the law passed last year, the casinos made a combined initial payment of about $47,000, which will fund the interim program, Aubin said.
While the law only required the casinos to fund a "program" through the Lottery, Aubin said Lottery officials felt continuing gambling addiction treatment, particularly for those without medical insurance, was especially important. Doyle said Twin River was "fully supportive" of the Lottery's decision.
According to the AP, Aubin had said that Codac was picked for the interim program because of the organization’s reputation and treatment locations across the state.
Codac President Mike Rizzi announced that treatment will take place in Cranston, East Providence and Newport, according to the AP.
Rhode Island tends to spend less than other states do on gambling addiction treatment. In 2010 the state spent less than 10 cents per capita on problem-gambling treatment programs — compared with a national average of 34 cents, said the AP, based on data from the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators.