The forum was organized by Dan Gilbert's casino group, the National Center for Responsible Gambling and the ADAMHS Board that oversees addiction and mental health programs in Cuyahoga County.
The charter amendment creating casinos mandates that two percent of casino revenue go to treatment programs for gambling and substance abuse. That's estimated to be $13 million a year.
That's the most funding provided by any state introducing casinos.
"Dan Gilbert and his group at Rock Venture understand this is something to deal with up front," said Phil Satre, a former CEO of Harrah's and now the President of International Game Technology who spoke at the city club about programs to avert gambling addictions.
Almost three percent of American adults are addicted or problems gamblers. A recent report by a Columbus group calculates that newly-opened casinos may double the number or problem gamblers within 50 miles.
Satre claims research shows there is a small increase in new gambling problems caused by a new casino. He said the figures quickly return to normal.
Counselors here fear the proximity of casino temptations will create or aggravate gambling problems.
"Some of the clients I'm working with are concened about the casino coming," said Janice Clegg a Recovery Resources Counselor.
Renowned gambling counsleor, Dr. Heather Chapman, said,"My current patients are concerned it's here. I've had patients move to Ohio to be away from casinos."
ADAMHS CEO Bill Denihan is concerned looming state budget cuts may reduce existing programs.
A problem gambler told him, "I can't afford to Detroit every month. But I can afford to go downtown a lot."
The Brecksville gambling addiction treament program at the Veterans Administration Hospital is one of the nation's foremost gambling help providers.
The Cleveland Casino is projected to open in 2013.