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Pittsburgh Tackles Problem Gambling Before Rivers Casino Opens

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Problem gambling will most likely affect less than five percent of the population in Pittsburgh. Any percentage over zero, however, is too high for some people. That is why members of the city, in conjunction with the new Rivers Casino, are offering ways to prevent and treat problem gambling.

The casino itself will have all the usually warning signs posted around the facility. In addition to the mandatory signs that tell people about the dangers of problem gambling, the casino is also insisting that employees take a class in problem gambling.

Outside of the casino, a field director with the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work, Jody Bechtold, has already began preparations for the dealing with problem gambling. Long before the Rivers Casino was around, Bechtold put together a group of counselors.

The network of counselors, which now is over 125 members, will be available at treatment centers that were built. It is a preparatory move that not many cities take when gambling expansion nears.

With many states expanding their casino gambling laws, it would seem logical that they also would expand their problem gambling treatment programs. That has not been the case in many of the states. In other states where casino gambling already existed, the programs for gambling addicts have been part of budget cuts.

Pittsburgh, however, is different. The community understands the potential problems, and they have worked to address them before they happen. Measures taken by the University of Pittsburgh and Rivers Casino management will ensure that citizens of Pittsburgh will be able to enjoy their new casino without worry.

If problems should occur, the city will be waiting with open arms.

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