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Updated: Authorities launch cockfighting raids in western Wisconsin

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Problem gambling increasing at casinos

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

At least some people who've lost their incomes are trying to win them back at the casinos.

There are no firm statistics on this. But the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling is still getting a slight increase in calls for help, after a record 38 percent increase in 2008.

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And counselors are hearing more and more about a connection between lost jobs and more betting - with disastrous results.

Help-line coordinator Cheri Braley said one man maxed out his credit cards to gamble after losing his job - but he didn't tell his wife, and she filed for divorce after he lost it all.

Another man was winning for awhile, until he built up $16,000 of gambling debts.

Braley says people are trying to make gambling their job, and are worse off because of it.

Wisconsin counselors saw a big increase in calls for help starting last August, when the economy really started going south.

The gambling council's helpline received almost 13,000 calls for help last year.

Council director Rose Gruber says about 5 to 7 percent of Wisconsinites have gambling problems.

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