Help is Near: Problem Gambling Resources Focus of PGCB March Campaign

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board‘s calendar, a time to heighten awareness of the resources available to help individuals with a gambling problem.

Representatives of the PGCB’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling will participate in a virtual kickoff on Monday.

Throughout the month, the PGCB will join with partners to educate Pennsylvanians about the effects of gambling disorders.

Spotlight on problem gambling tools

The gaming board is spotlighting tools that help to identify gambling addiction.

Also, focusing on services aimed at minimizing the consequences of problem gambling.

The director of the PGCB’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, Elizabeth Lanza, stressed that gambling addiction is an issue that could be more problematic in light of the virus pandemic.

Lanza said:

“The goal of Problem Gambling Awareness Month is to spotlight the issues and educate the general public about the warning signs of problem gambling, as well as raise awareness about treatment and other programs that are available both locally and nationally.”

The PGCB Executive Director, Kevin O’Toole, said the oversight board and the industry both recognize the importance of gambling addiction programs. And the goal is to help individuals and provide education, outreach, and prevention options.

And also problem gambling resources

The board works with both state and national problem gambling organizations and PA gaming license holders to ensure its ability to provide useful methods and resources to deal with gambling addiction.

O’Toole said the PGCB has expanded and enhanced the tools for addressing gambling addiction as new forms of gambling are added.

Self-Exclusion Program a key tool

The PA Self-Exclusion program now allows individuals to ban themselves from iGaming, Fantasy Contests, and Video Gaming Terminals, or VGTs.

The program has aided thousands in staying out of Pennsylvania casinos. To date, over 16,000 persons have taken advantage of the program to self-ban from casinos. The bans run for one year, five years, or a lifetime.

Other options

Additional responsible gambling tools include:

  • www.ResponsiblePlay.pa.gov, a new website dedicated to addressing problem gambling, with information and links to identify a potential gambling problem and find help.
  • The PlayPause program from GeoComply and Conscious Gaming allows individuals to self-exclude from online casino sites across state lines. This important RG tool debuted in PA at BetMGM in late December 2020.
  • Options for participants to limit online play or their spending at operator websites. That includes fantasy contests, online casino games, online poker, and/or online sports betting.

Lanza summed up:

“The public needs to know that problem gambling tools are out there. And also that gambling addiction treatment is not only available but has proven to be effective.”

Lead image via Dreamstime.

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