Today begins National Problem Gambling Awareness month, and as optimism grows for expanded gambling in Pennsylvania, one group is reminding residents of some of the dangers of problem gambling. On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Lottery released a word of caution for PA gamblers as they gear up to play new games in the state.
PA Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko summed up the Lottery’s message. “As part of our commitment to be socially responsible, we ask every player to always play responsibly. That means playing within your financial means and only for entertainment.”
Players who have problems with gambling are encouraged to call 1-800-GAMBLER to seek help. The hotline is free and confidential. Information is also available on the Pennsylvania Lottery website’s “Play Responsibly” page. Additional resources are available at pacouncil.com, which is operated by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania. The organization provides a 24-hour chat service allowing gamblers to get help at hours of the day.
The Pennsylvania Lottery notes that most PA residents are able to gamble responsibly, but for those that struggle with the addiction, lives can be negatively affected. “Most adults can play lottery games without issue, but anyone who may be struggling with gambling addiction should not play at all,” Svitko added. “In addition, we strongly discourage adults from giving games to children; players must be 18 or older.”
Some studies estimate problem gambling affecting 2% to 3% of the United States population. The National Council on Problem Gambling says that 15% of Americans gamble at least once a week, indicating most gamblers are able to control their gambling.
Signs of problem gambling can include feeling depressed after gambling, a need to chase loses and lying or hiding gambling. Here are some additional signs that your gambling may be problem.