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Connecticut Opposite Of Maryland With Problem Gambling Treatment

The state of Maryland did not have much experience when they entered the casino gambling industry last year. Despite the lack of experience, the state has become a model for what needs to be done to take an aggressive approach towards curbing gambling addiction.

Maryland lawmakers have crafted some of the most trend-setting laws when it comes to problem gambling assistance. First and foremost, the state has insisted on massive amounts of money going towards research, prevention, and treatment for problem gamblers. The approach has received strong praise from those within the industry.

"It is not often that a state is new to an industry and comes in and operates as if it has been a mainstay in the state all along," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "Maryland has some areas where they still can learn from other states in terms of regulation, but problem gambling awareness is not one of them. They have ensured that the proper attention be paid to something as potentially debilitating as gambling addiction."

Connecticut is not receiving the same praises. Marvin Steinberg, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, believes the state could, and should, do much more to protect their residents. Steinberg wants the government to take a more active role in figuring out different ways to deal with the growing gambling addiction problem in Connecticut.

The state is mandated by law to conduct studies periodically. Unfortunately, according to Steinberg, those studies do not come frequently enough. The next scheduled study is not until 2019, but government officials claim it will not take that long to authorize a study. Steinberg contends that the studies should already be underway as the gaming industry grows in the state.

Connecticut has watched over the past decade as neighboring states have added new casinos. The expansion in states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Maine, and Delaware, has hurt the revenue at Connecticut's two casino resorts, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

Last year, the two tribal-owned casinos launched a billboard campaign on the New Jersey Turnpike, aimed at steering gamblers North to Connecticut. What the casinos did not know at that time, was the affect that table games in Pennsylvania would affect the Northeast gambling industry. Pennsylvania is expected to overtake New Jersey as the top gaming revenue state in the Northeast by the end of 2012.

There has been little evidence to suggest that gambling addiction is on the rise in Connecticut, which is the problem that Steinberg sees. From the early eighties to mid-nineties, Connecticut lawmakers conducted studies every five years. That has not been the case in recent years, and Steinberg is calling for a change to the current structure.

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