National Problem Gambling Month

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By Jennifer Macioce, LCSW, NCGC-1
Milestone Centers

Pennsylvania has, for the second straight year generated more gambling revenue than every other state except for Nevada. With 11 casinos open across the state, Pennsylvania now ranks behind only the state of Nevada in terms of total gambling revenue and slot machine revenue. In addition to casinos, there are at least 10 different Pennsylvania lottery games and lots of instant ticket games. Many communities have local bingos and fundraisers based on the daily number. While the majority of people can gamble safely and games of chance can be fun to play, there are some people who will experience problems or may become addicted to these opportunities for chance.

How do you know if you or someone you care about may have a problem? Signs of problem gambling:

  • Being secretive about habits and defensive when confronted
  • “Chasing” losses with more gambling
  • Lying to family and friends about the extent of their gambling
  • Trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back or stop gambling
  • Becoming restless and irritable when they are not gambling
  • Commiting crimes to finance their gambling.

Information is available at The campaign aims to raise awareness about problem gambling and its effect on the individual, the family and the community. The hope is to lessen the stigma many gamblers attach to their behavior and show that gambling is not a lack of willpower or moral weakness, but it is an addiction and it is treatable,

So if you want to gamble, follow the 10 Rules if Responsible gaming and keep it safe.

10 Rules of Responsible Gaming

  1. If you choose to gamble, do so for entertainment purposes.
    • If your gambling is no longer an enjoyable activity then ask yourself why you are still “playing.”
  2. Treat the money you lose as the cost of your entertainment.
    • Treat any winnings as a bonus.
  3. Set a dollar limit and stick to it.
    • Decide before you go not only what you can “afford” to lose, but how much you want to spend. Do not change your mind after losing.
  4. Set a time limit and stick to it.
    • Decide how much of your time you want to allow for gambling. Leave when you reach the time limit whether you are winning or losing.
  5. Expect to lose.
    • The odds are that you will lose.
  6. Make it a private rule not to gamble on credit.
    • Do not borrow money to gamble.
  7. Create balance in your life.
    • Gambling should not interfere with or substitute for friends, family, work or other worthwhile activities.
  8. Avoid “chasing” lost money.
    • Chances are the more you try to recoup your losses the larger your losses will be.
  9. Don’t gamble as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain.
    • Gambling for reasons other then entertainment can lead to problems.
  10. Become educated about the warning signs of problem gambling.
    • The more you know the better choices you can make.


The Council on Compulsive Gambling in PA

Pa Problem Gambling

The National Council on Problem Gambling

This post is originally published on March 5, 2013. Re-post on March 27, 2014 and February 28, 2015.

If you would like to learn more about this topic or if you have resources to offer, please contact us.

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