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Pennsylvania website offers assistance for gambling addiction

January 4, 2011
by News release
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Harrisburg, Pa. — Pennsylvanians struggling with gambling problems have a new online resource offering confidential help. A new Web site www.PaProblemGambling.com, provides resources for people dealing with compulsive or problem gambling. The site complements the department's toll-free Problem Gambling Hotline (877)-565-2112, which operates 24/7. All calls are confidential.

"Gambling can become an addiction for up to three percent of Pennsylvanians who gamble recreationally," said Michael Huff, acting Secretary of Health. "Even though it is simply a game for many, for some it can be a devastating illness that affects them and the people close to them. This new Web site offers a one-stop resource for people who may have a gambling problem and their loved ones seeking help."

This innovative site offers a unique look at the real costs of problem gambling. It also offers information about local gamblers-anonymous meetings; local state-subsidized and private counseling options; a risk assessment tool to help individuals determine if they or someone they know may have a problem with gambling; a list of warning signs and frequently asked questions; as well as information for people affected by the actions of problem gamblers. The site also includes a ZIP code look-up feature to help find local assistance.

The department also launched a statewide media campaign which includes radio and television ads, transit posters and billboards to educate residents about the harms of problem gambling and ensure that they know help is available if needed.

"Problem gambling is gambling that results in significant debt, family disruption, job loss, criminal activity or suicide," Huff said. "It affects the gamblers, their families, their employers and the community. We hope this site provides help to people with the addiction and their families."

As a gambler goes through the phases of addiction, warning signs may include: spending less time with family and friends; spending money on gambling at the expense of the household and family's needs; and stealing money to support a gambling habit.

For more information about problem gambling, visit www.PaProblemGambling.com.

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