PGCB’s Director of Compulsive And Problem Gambling Provides Lawmakers With Update On Agency’s Assistance Efforts
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s top official responsible for overseeing casino implementation of compulsive and problem gambling plans, as well as education and programs to assist citizens with gambling addictions, provided an update today to members of the House Gaming Oversight Committee.
It was the second time over the past two weeks that Nanette Horner, Director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, updated lawmakers on the PGCB’s efforts in this area. Horner similarly testified on February 3rd to the Senate Community Economic and Recreational Development Committee. That committee is responsible for gaming oversight in the Senate.
Horner was joined at the hearing by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a representative from the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
The Gaming Control Board, in its commitment to understanding and alleviating the devastating effects of pathological gambling, was just the second gaming jurisdiction in the United States to establish an Office and Director in its gaming regulatory body.
Among the subjects discussed, Horner told State House members today that 564 individuals have requested and been accepted into the voluntary self-exclusion program wherein problem gamblers ask to be excluded from participating in legalized gaming activities in Pennsylvania’s slots casinos. Individuals who are on that list and gamble at a Pennsylvania casino are subject to criminal trespassing charges.
Horner also detailed to lawmakers the requirements of Pennsylvania casino personnel to be trained in identifying patrons that may have a gambling problem, outreach efforts by her and staff, and inter-agency efforts that has led a consortium that meets regularly to ensure a uniform approach to the issues of problem gaming in the Commonwealth.
In addition, Horner told the Committee of the bureau’s responsibility to review and approve all Compulsive and Problem Gambling Plans submitted by slot machine license applicants. These plans include such items as staff training procedures, internal controls, and proper and acceptable signage to inform patrons of toll-free help lines available to assist with gambling problems.
These efforts, along with many others, led the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania to award their first annual Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Government Agency in the field of Problem Gambling to the Gaming Control Board. The award, presented this past October, lauds the entire PGCB for “its outstanding pioneering efforts in supporting education, awareness and responsible gaming programs.”
Horner’s testimony followed unanimous adoption of resolutions this week by the Senate and House, along with a proclamation by Governor Edward G. Rendell recognizing the week of March 1 through 7, 2009, as "Problem Gambling Awareness Week" in the Commonwealth.
The Gaming Control Board’s web site contains information on identifying gambling problems and finding help. Visit www.pgcb.state.pa.us and choose the “Compulsive and Problem Gambling” link on the home page to access this information.
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