Report: Large part of Oregon Lotto revenue from gambling addicts

Report: Large part of Oregon Lotto revenue from gambling addicts »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon lottery brings in nearly half a billion dollars in revenue each year. However a recent study found that 36 percent of regular gamblers are making up a large portion of the state's lottery revenue.

The Oregon Lottery started a new campaign that would upgrade video lottery machines and appeal to a younger demographic of players.

Chuck Baumann, a spokesman for The Oregon Lottery, says they will be installing 12,000 replacement video lottery machines in the next five years as a part of the campaign.

Oregon's state addiction director  Michelle Tantriella-Modell says she's concerned about the new machines effect on fueling gambling addiction.

"So much of their time and money is spent on gambling. It's what they're thinking about. They're trying to find ways to get more money to get more money… if they do get more money they're spending it and putting it right back," Modell told our news team. 

The Oregonian reports that consultants found the biggest chunk of video lottery players park in front of a machine and gamble alone until all their money is gone.

Modell agreed, saying most gamblers in treatment tell councilors they would spend hours playing on video machines.   

Baumann says the new machines will be installed with timers and counts to alert the player of time and money spent.

The Oregon Lottery raises revenue for schools, parks, business development and other programs, and the lion's share comes from video machines, which include both video poker and line games similar to a slot machine. Critics say the government is fostering gambling addiction in order to pay its bills.

Lottery Director Larry Niswender defended the lottery's practices and denied that the agency targets problem gamblers. He also disputed data showing that an outsize share of lottery revenue comes from a small group of players.

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The Associated Press/The Oregonian contributed to this story