Paula Chung is a gambling addiction counselor. She knows her clients problems well.
That's because she was a compulsive gambler herself more than ten years ago.
The poker machine she says was everything.
"Anesthetized me it gave me my entertainment my lover, it was what I did, that was Paula the gambler."
Paula says she lived in Reno for several years before she picked up the gambling habit. But it took no time to lose her savings, her job, her house, even the day to day care of her child.
She loved gambling she says and really didn't want to give it up.
" I'd go how did I get here. I come from this really nice family. And you know, and I look at myself and said what the hell happened. What happened something happened somewhere. "
Paula's story is not unusual...it goes on every day here in Reno and around the country.
The newest addition to treatment is the Problem Gambling Center, on Humboldt Street in Reno. The center opened thanks in part to new legislation which allotted state funds to gambling treatment centers.
The clincal director of the center Denise Quirk says, that state funding has proved invaluable, but with the need, those funds can quickly disappear. " And we are at capacity for our funding to open the center in fact I was just told today we have already spent what was given to us to start with the non profit and we are 50-percent over that budget."
Open less than a month, Quirk says there is now a waiting list to get into the center. A total of 12-clients are taken in...and must adhere to a strict schedule of counseling. She says soon the center will be expanding into other parts of the building. The non-profit center will not turn a patient away because of inability to pay. Gambling addicts are often bankrupt both literally and figuratively