NEW ORLEANS — Counseling will likely play a significant role in how the East Baton Rouge district attorney handles the misdemeanor gambling-related citation issued to New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson.
WWL-TV first reported that State Police had cited the high-ranking Democrat in February at the L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge.
Peterson regularly votes on gambling-related laws. She admitted to a gambling addiction in a statement issued shortly after the WWL-TV report on Friday.
Misdemeanor citations, like the one issued to Peterson, are among the consequences gambling addicts face if they violate their pledge to the State Police that they will not gamble in Louisiana casinos.
“What we want to see is that the person gets help for themselves and that’s surely the case that’s going on with Senator Peterson,” said Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.
The self-exclusion list was established by state lawmakers in 2001. Then-representative Mitch Landrieu sponsored the legislation. Peterson voted for the measure.
Friday, Peterson admitted in a statement sent to her supporters that she has been suffering with a gambling disorder, “for many years.”
Two years ago, she joined the list by filling out a form with the State Police.
On the form, the person must admit that they are a problem, or compulsive gambler. While the list is kept private, the citations issued are not. They are treated the same way as traffic tickets or DWIs.
In the last six months, the State Police say their gaming division has issued 59 similar citations to people who gamble in violation of the terms of the list.
“We receive very few of these types of summonses, and, for the most part, we have dismissed the majority of these cases and have deferred them, using our discretion,” said Moore.
Moore says the citations are typically dismissed after the person provides proof they are seeking treatment. He went on to say Peterson has already reached out to his office, indicating that she is doing just that.
“I believe that this situation is in hand and that she’s taking all the steps she needs to address the issue.”
Relapse is often part of the recovery from many addictions and Peterson said in her statement that it is part of hers. She said that it (relapse) has happened “from time to time.”