Even as the president of the Mountaineer Racetrack pushes for the addition of "table games" to his facility's stable of gambling devices, a growing number of people in the state are struggling with a gambling addiction.
The problem was explored last week in an Associated Press series called "Vegas in the Hills." The series notes that while the state of West Virginia has never studied how many gambling addicts the state has, more than 650 people have called for help since the state launched a 24-hour hotline back in August of 2000.
Of those who called, 535 identified their addiction as slot machines or video poker. Half of those who called had annual earnings of $30,000 or less, while 84 had salaries of more than $50,000. Obviously the problem isn't confined to citizens near the poverty line.
There are two basic kinds or problem gamblers. The first type is the "action" gambler, who prefers games like poker, horse racing or sports betting, which require strategy or paying attention to statistics.