Pennsylvania Walks The Line Between Gaming Revenue And Addiction
Pennsylvania has become one of the top casino gaming destinations in the US over the past couple of years. Legislators crafted laws that were designed to open up the industry, and regulators have enacted rules and regulations that oversee the casinos to ensure the public is protected. It has become one of the fastest growing states in terms of gaming revenue.
As is always the case with quick expansion, there are a few bugs that need to be worked out in the system. While the gaming revenue has risen to never before seen heights, gambling addiction has also become somewhat of a concern for lawmakers and regulators. As the industry has grown, so has the amount of problem gamblers in the state.
A report released this week shows that almost $10 million was won by Pennsylvania casinos in January. That represents an increase of nearly 25% over the same period in 2011. That is the good news for the state. The bad news is that estimations have the percent of people who develop gambling problems at almost three percent.
The state requires that a percentage of all casino revenue go to a fund for the treatment and prevention of problem gambling. That fund, according to some, can only do so much. There are those in the community that believe the treatment centers must grow as rapidly as the gambling if they are going to keep this problem under wraps.
"The state is not doing enough," said Sandra Welkington, a Pennsylvania resident. "I have some friends that I know have been gambling much more since the table games came to the casinos, and they are unaware that the gambling is becoming a problem. I just want to make sure there is places for people like me to go to if the problems get too bad, and I need to get my friends some help."
Pennsylvania does have some examples they can turn to of how to corral the gambling addiction problem. Maryland is considered one of the top states in the US when it comes to gambling addiction prevention. Maryland, like Pennsylvania, only went heavily into the casino industry over the past couple of years, and like in Pennsylvania, gaming is growing rapidly in Maryland.
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