FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 11th, 2010

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
P.O. Box 69060
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9060

CONTACT

Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey (717) 346-8321

PGCB Highlights "problem Gambling Awareness Week"

HARRISBURG: During “Problem Gambling Awareness Week” March 7th - 13th, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is encouraging individuals who think they may have a gambling problem to seek help.

Chairman Greg Fajt says this agency places an emphasis on the need to provide resources to assist Pennsylvanians who are affected by problem gambling.

“The Gaming Control Board created the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling because we knew our responsibilities to the public were more than opening casinos to create jobs and new revenue,” Fajt says. “These efforts have helped citizens uncover and find information that addresses this serious problem, and we will continue to work to strengthen our outreach efforts to educate the public on gaining assistance.”

In recognition of this important week, the Board has added additional information to its website including a new informational handout on female gamblers. In addition, a public service announcement (PSA), developed by the National Council on Problem Gambling, has been adapted to publicize the toll-free helpline number operated by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania to assist problem gamblers.

“Individuals with gambling problems, as well as their friends and family members, can obtain free, confidential assistance 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-GAMBLER,” said Nanette L. Horner, Director of the PGCB’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling. “Pursuant to the Gaming Act and the regulations, the PGCB requires all casinos in Pennsylvania to post signage with the helpline number and to include that number on all advertisements. The PSA is another way to publicize the number.”

The new “Facts About Women and Gambling” brochure, along with the PSA, can be found at the Board’s website at www.pgcb.state.pa.us by clicking on the “Problem Gambling Awareness Week” icon located on the right hand column of the homepage.

Additionally, the Board reminds all Pennsylvanians about the availability of the PGCB Self-Exclusion Program. Established in late 2006, the Self-Exclusion Program permits problem gamblers to ban themselves from gambling at Pennsylvania casinos. Once a person is placed on the Self-Exclusion list, gaming facilities in the Commonwealth must:

  • Refuse wagers from and deny any gaming privileges to a self-excluded person;
  • Deny check cashing privileges, player club membership, complimentary goods and services, junket participation and other similar privileges and benefits to a self-excluded person;
  • Ensure that self-excluded persons do not receive junket solicitations, targeted mailings, telemarketing promotions, player club materials or other promotional materials relating to gaming activities at its licensed facility; and,
  • Notify the Pennsylvania State Police of violations of the ban. A self-excluded individual who violates the ban will be subject to arrest and charged with trespass.

The PGCB's Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling has also released new data on the Self-Exclusion Program:

  • 1,225 persons have requested and been accepted for placement on the PGCB Self-Exclusion List;
  • 27% have chosen the lifetime ban option;
  • 48% of the individuals on the Self-Exclusion List are male and 52% are female;
  • Individuals on this list range between 21 and 81 years of age.

In addition, individuals voluntarily supplied the following data during the self-exclusion intake interview:

  • For those that provided responses, approximately 38% of the self-excluded individuals are currently involved in a treatment program (including Gamblers Anonymous) or have sought treatment in the past;
  • For those that provided responses, nearly 11% have been self excluded in other jurisdictions such as New Jersey and Delaware;
  • For those that provided responses, 82% of self-excluded persons participated in gambling at a PA casino prior to signing up for the Board's Self-Exclusion Program.

More information the Self-Exclusion Program can be found on the Gaming Control Board web site.

About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Pennsylvania’s first new state agency in nearly 40 years, the Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry. To date, with nine of a maximum fourteen casinos in operation, legalized gaming in the Commonwealth has created over 8,000 new living wage jobs, revenue that has provided property tax reduction in each of the past two years for all homeowners, and funds that have reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry. A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. At this web site, videos and information on the operation of the PGCB, problem gambling efforts and assistance, future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, and a link to request a speaker are among the many items available.

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