RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Top professionals in the Problem Gambling field were in the Biggest Little City this week, and they spoke with News 4 about what they hope to accomplish in the Silver State.
"When I was gambling, I didn't understand what was happening to me," said Carol O'Hare. "I didn't understand the affect I was having on my children, I really didn't understand anything about the affect it was having."
Carol O'Hare was once a problem gambler. In 2014, she is the Executive Director for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, and has been for the last 18 years. "My personal passion is to see that we continue to improve and expand on the awareness and the opportunity for people like me to get help," said O'Hare.
While O'Hare is proud of the services the state provides to problem gamblers, she cannot stress the importance of up-to-date research enough. "We studied the population in 2000 to get an idea of how gambling was impacting our folks, as far as problem gambling."
"Roughly 6% of the adult population in Nevada could have a gambling problem," said O'Hare. "Unfortunately we don't know what that means today, because it's been 14 years and our state has gone through changes."
Those changes aren't small. Nevada's population has increased from 1.9 million in 2000, to an estimated 2.7 million in 2013. Population is not the only thing that has changed. Nevada legalized online gaming last year, creating one more legal way for problem gamblers to get their fix.
"One of our goals would be to see a new study, to make sure we are reaching the right people," said O'Hare.
In the meantime, members of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling are focusing on recovery. "Addiction costs money. We can't feed our children, we affect the court system, we drain resources. When people are in recovery, they aren't draining those resources anymore. They become a resource," said O'Hare.
Nevadans can get help for free. "Here in Nevada, it is not only available and it works, but it's free. The state is funding the treatment," said O'Hare.
For the resources available to Nevadans, head to the NCPG's website