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Gambling debts in WI

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APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- The average debt for gambling addicts who called a Wisconsin hotline increased dramatically in 2011.

According to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, the average reported debt was more than $157,000. That's the largest-ever debt level in its history, and more than $113,000 higher than 2010.

Executive director Rose Gruber says more people are maxing-out credit cards, getting short-term loans from financial institutions, imposing on friends and relatives to fuel their habit, and gambling money they should spend on mortgage or rent payments.

She tells The Post-Crescent (http://post.cr/x9bFqA) that she's hopeful the spike is an anomaly.

Keith Whyte, of the National Council on Problem Gambling in Washington, D.C., says high debt levels go hand-in-hand with compulsive gamblers. He says said gambling losses tend to mount when the economy worsens.

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