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Maryland Study To Be Used To Help Prevent Problem Gambling

The state of Maryland is new to the casino gambling world, but that does not mean they are taking all of their cues from other states. Maryland is setting the standard when it comes to problem gambling treatment and prevention.

The state has jumped all-in on casino gambling, but unlike states that neglect those who develop an addiction, Maryland officials are working on ways to combat problem gambling. The latest tool that will be used is a study conducted by the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research.

The study was conducted on over 56,000 households in Maryland. Ninety percent of those polled claim they have gambled. Twenty-two percent of those polled claimed they gambled on a monthly basis, with another fifteen percent admitting to weekly gambling. Of all of those questioned, only 3.4 percent were considered to be problem gamblers. That figure is low compared to other states.

Even with the good news, Maryland officials want to ensure that those 3.4 percent of people have outlets to help with their addiction. The Maryland Problem Gambling Helpline has been set up, where gamblers can speak to trained counselors. The counselors can then direct the gamblers to the appropriate treatment possibilities.

"The study helps us understand the extent of the problem and pathological gambling in Maryland prior to the opening of casinos in Maryland in 2010," said Dr. Tom Cargiulo, Director of the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration. "The results will help us design the next steps directed towards preventing and treating gambling disorders."

Maryland is one of a handful of Northeastern states that has expanded casino gambling in recent years. Along with Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have all opened up their casino gaming industries. Pennsylvania and Maryland are making the biggest strides, with Pennsylvania expected to become the top gaming destination on the East Coast by 2012.

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