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Problem Gambling Awareness Week Begins In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers have worked hard over the past several years to make the state the top gambling destination on the East Coast. The efforts have been largely successful, with Pennsylvania expected to pass New Jersey in overall casino revenue by the end of the year.

With that title also comes a responsibility to their residents. That is why the state has declared this week Problem Gambling Awareness week. During the week, educated speakers are expected to deliver messages on how to identify and treat problem gambling behavior. The state wants residents to gamble, but they also want responsibility from the gamblers.

"The Gaming Control Board urges compulsive gamblers, or even individuals who think they may have a problem, to educate themselves about how to identify the problem and then seek out professional counseling if needed," said Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Chairman William H. Ryan Jr. "We, and the casinos, which must operate with a Board-approved plan to assist problem gamblers, want Pennsylvanians to enjoy legalized gaming without putting their families and budgets at risk."

Pennsylvania regulators have amped up the effort to give residents places where they can go for their addictions. Over the past few years, over 70 treatment providers have been promoted by the Gaming Board. These providers offer treatment programs for gamblers who have recognized their addictions.

An effort has also been made to detect problem gambling signs before it is too late. Gamblers who develop addictions are at risk of losing their savings, families, and sometimes, even their lives. It is an addiction that should be treated as serious as other addictions such as alcohol and drugs, according to health officials.

"A gambling addiction may not be as easy to detect as an alcohol or drug addiction," said Secretary of Health Dr. Eli Avila. "We encourage Pennsylvanians to know their risk for problem gambling, and want to remind them that help is available for those who need it."

Pennsylvania made a major move last year when lawmakers legalized table games. In the months since the table games have become operational, Pennsylvania gaming revenue has skyrocketed. Analysts have jumped on the bandwagon, and predict that the state will surpass New Jersey's Atlantic City in overall revenue. That is a far reach for a state that only recently added the majority of their casinos.

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