Some people in Oklahoma are questioning whether there is a connection between gambling addiction and white-collar crime, after a series of public officials have been convicted of embezzelment and other corporate crimes connected to gambling.
“Money is the drug,” said Wiley Harwell, the executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling, in a recent article.
Typically, treatment for gambling and spending addiction involves completely limiting access to funds. However, for people who have access to large amount of cash at work, there is no easy way to get rid of the temptation.
Oklahoma has the third-highest rates of gambling-related embezzelment, falling behind only New York and California. Recent embezzelment cases involving a Senator, a police officer, a tribal leader, a reverend, and others, have highlighted the issue in the state.
“They generally aren’t using the money to improve a lifestyle. They aren’t buying new cars or new homes or a boat or something. They’re gambling,” said U.S. Attourney Danny Williams.
Oklahoma legalized gambling in 2004. Harwell estimates that 3 percent of the population has a gambling addiction.
For more information on Oklahoma’s gambling problem, read the article from Tulsa World.