The commanding presence of the newly opened Graton Casino has unknown social complications on the community in Sonoma County. The massive advertising campaign to showcase the grandiose casino has penetrated a spectrum of media such as TV networks, internet and newspapers; media forms of advertising range from large to some as small as the STAR.
Nationally, gambling addiction affects five percent of the population, which is a two percent rise in less than a decade. A group of sociology students from Sonoma State conducted a student survey regarding gambling amongst students since the opening of Graton Casino. Out of the 310 students surveyed, 32 percent reported that they did know a fellow student with a gambling addiction. 39 percent of students surveyed also reported that they had seen a rise in gambling amongst their friends since the opening of Graton Casino.
With the extreme proximity of Graton Casino to Sonoma State, we suggest that the counseling department be more equipped and prepared to help those students that may develop or currently have a gambling addiction. Currently, the Sonoma State counseling department offers no help toward students with gambling addiction. As the casino becomes a normalized part of the community, there will likely be an increasing need in counseling for students with a gambling addiction at Sonoma State.
- Gabriel Colson and Kelly Bartlett, Investigative Sociology students