On March 5, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released additional information about the ongoing Problem Gambling Awareness Month initiative in March. The PGCB is allocated additional resources to stress the issue of gambling addiction and how it may affect the lives of victims as well as their families and friends.
In order to better highlight the issue, the PGCB will be holding several events where board members will be present to assist people who may need help. Three events have been announced as a part of a new press release:
- Thursday, March 7th at The Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA’s East Conference in Trevose;
- Thursday, March 14th at The Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA’s West Conference in Pittsburgh;
- Tuesday, March 19th in the Capitol Building mini-rotunda in Harrisburg from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
PGCB Director of Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling Elizabeth Lanza has said that the issue of problem gambling is an ever-present danger and it can affect Pennsylvanian citizens regardless of their socio-economic or ethnic background. Ms. Lanza also noted that people in need of help can turn to the 24/7 help line:
Problem Gambling Awareness Month shines a spotlight on the issue of problem gambling, and we want the public to know help is available 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-GAMBLER
Even though Pennsylvania hasn’t yet launched its online gaming, which was postponed until June, 2019, the state has had a self-exclusion scheme since 2006. Pennsylvania allows customers to exclude for a year, five years, or a lifetime.
To enforce the policy, Pennsylvania can charge a person with criminal trespass if they visit casinos while their name is part of the list. The PGCB has been committed to keeping the public informed so that prevention measures can be taken early when the problem is discovered. PGCB Director Kevin O’Toole commented on this specific effort:
Our agency has made outreach for problem gamblers a priority since the opening of the first casinos in Pennsylvania over 12 years ago
The PGCB wants to also introduce other tools that will effectively slash the risk of people falling victim to gambling addiction, by limiting online sessions and altering the existing self-exclusion scheme. These new tools will be introduced at a later stage when the iGaming industry in the state finally launches, hopefully in June.
Meanwhile, the PGCB continues to work on establishing a trustworthy gambling environment in the state, with the board helping locals and casino operators reach a consensus on new properties and developments.