5,000th person excluded from Pa. casinos
Not everyone who enters Presque Isle Downs & Casino and the state's 10 other casinos is looking to gamble.
Some who walk through the casino doors want to stop gambling.
They are the problem gamblers who voluntarily sign up to exclude themselves from the state's casinos for life, or for periods of five years or one year.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which regulates the state's casino industry, recorded a milestone when the 5,000th person asked to be banned from the state's casinos.
The number of those using the program has steadily increased since the first two signed up in 2006, when the first Pennsylvania casino opened late that year near Wilkes-Barre.
The largest amount of sign-ups in any one year came in 2012, when 1,454 enrolled, an increase from the 1,265 in 2011. Thus far, 282 people have enrolled this year, the gaming board reported.
“The importance of the program obviously is to assist problem gamblers in the state of Pennsylvania, and surrounding states as well, for those who gamble at Pennsylvania casinos,” said Liz Lanza, director of the gaming board's Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling.
“We use this program not as a treatment, but as a gateway to treatment,” Lanza said.
When problem gamblers sign up, they are told about gambling treatment providers in their area and Gamblers Anonymous meetings, she said.
Treatment is free through the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, gaming board spokesman Richard McGarvey said.
The board does not break down the number of people who sign up by county, or by casino. But Presque Isle Downs spokeswoman Jennifer See said every Pennsylvania casino is told when a person excludes himself or herself when he or she signs up in the gaming board offices at the Erie casino or the other casinos.
Other gaming board field offices are in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton and Conshohocken in Montgomery County.
Lanza said gaming board offices inside the casinos are open 24 hours a day.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.