April 16th, 2007


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Commonwealth Tower, Strawberry Square
303 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101


Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey (717) 346-8321

Problem Gambling Guide Available From PA Gaming Control Board

HARRISBURG: A new brochure that can help people assess their personal gambling behavior and determine if they should seek help is now available on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's website.

Your First Step to Change is a guide that can be used by individuals who are unable or unwilling to speak with either a trained counselor or recovering problem gambler involved in a 12-step program, according to Nanette Horner, the Director of the Board's Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling.

"This guide has a gentle tone that provides a method for self assessment that may be utilized by both problem gamblers as well as by individuals who may not have a gambling problem and want to determine if and how they may want to gamble," Horner says.

Both a downloadable and an interactive version of the guide may be accessed by visiting the Board's web site at and choosing the Compulsive and Problem Gambling link.

Horner says the guide was jointly created as a public service project by the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling and the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders (a program of Harvard Medical School's Division on Addictions). It was originally created as a hard copy resource for callers to the helpline operated by the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. It is based on research from the addictions field showing that people who struggle with addiction are often ambivalent about making changes in their behavior even in the face of adverse consequences to their life.

"We are offering this guide in an effort to provide residents of this Commonwealth with a tool that would assist them in the assessment of their gambling behavior and the decision to make a change," Horner explains. "The Board has and will continue to review research and explore programs related to the prevention, awareness, education and treatment of gambling problems," said Horner.

The Gaming Control Board, which has the sole regulatory authority over the conduct of slots gaming in the Commonwealth, established the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling in 2006 to help citizens gain access to information and help. More information on this office can be obtained by contacting the Gaming Control Board or e-mailing to