Pennsylvania’s Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jen Smith met with recovering gambling addicts, officially marking the launch of the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month on March 2. Mr. Smith met with various noteworthy individuals who had admitted to being addicts and were actively participating in treatment programs. Speaking from Strawberry Square, Mr. Smith had the following to say:
We come together today to promote awareness of problem gambling and highlight community resources for individuals in need.
Mr. Smith’s words were true. The United States, and Pennsylvania for that matter, has been very quick to promote gaming and gambling, but there has been vacuum left insofar as responsible gambling is concerned.
Since the US consists of many individual states with their own approach to the issue, it becomes difficult to try and govern the problem centrally. Raising awareness, though, has been proven to be one of the most efficient ways to fight addiction.
The method’s success lies in the fact that it gradually strips the activity itself of any stigma, emboldening individuals who are experiencing symptoms to seek help right away rather than hide. Mr. Smith continued:
As legalized gambling expands and becomes more prevalent around the commonwealth, we urge individuals and their loved ones to recognize when a recreational hobby becomes a more serious problem. Understanding that treatment and resources are available can help in having conversations with loved ones in need.
Treating Gambling Addiction in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s initiative is officially supported by the National Council on Problem Gambling. The idea behind the initiative is to publicly highlight the dangers of over-indulgence and help individuals struggling with the disease to get adequate help without any backlash.
In regards to gambling addiction, Pennsylvania’s still developing sports betting and iGaming industries are fully prepare to tackle the issue head on. The initiative was joined by two distinct local organizations set-up to address the same issue as the National Council expects.
The Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania will also actively seek to get individuals showing symptoms into active treatment. To make sure that such individuals can get help, though, the PA Council will offer a free 24/7 line for those who need help or advice.
Gambling can potentially have significant consequences, such as breaking away from family and friends as well as sliding into financial ruin to feed one’s passion for the game. Pennsylvania is treading carefully insofar as gambling is concerned.
The state is making a big push later this year to launch a number of online casinos. Still, there have been several last-minute adjustments occasioned mostly by the newly-announced DOJ Opinion on the Wire Act.