At Hills parish, reporter to speak on gambling


HILLS – Ken Fuson, an award-winning journalist who worked 24 years for the Des Moines Register, will speak after Mass on Feb. 6 at St. Joseph Parish about his addiction to gambling.

His talk will begin at about 11:15 a.m. and is being given the same day as Super Bowl Sunday, when Americans will wager an estimated $500 million on the game, most of it illegally, Fuson notes.

According to a recent episode of “60 Minutes,” there are 850,000 slot machines in the United States, and “we Americans spend more money on slots than on movies, baseball and theme parks combined.”

Clearly, America is hooked on gambling, Fuson said.


But there’s another side to this addiction that isn’t shown in commercials for casinos. It’s not all happy faces, bright colors and jubilant winners clutching fistfuls of cash. People are destroying their lives, too. The odds are great that you know someone in your family or among your friends who has a gambling problem, Fuson said.

He is one of them. He will share the story of his personal descent into gambling addiction and his repeated attempts to overcome it. His goal is to help increase understanding of what it’s like to be caught in an addiction, and to offer some suggestions on what the state and the casino industry might do to help. Mostly, he’d like to help people and families dealing with their own addictions.

Father William Kneemiller, pastor of the Hills parish, said he had anti-gaming speaker Kathy Gilroy in from Chicago when he was pastor in Lost Nation. Since his move to Hills he decided to have another anti-gaming speaker because of the proximity to a casino in nearby Riverside. Fuson was recommended to him by Gilroy.

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