February 27, 2024 2 min read


Pennsylvania Promotes Safer Gaming Ahead of National Gambling Awareness Month

As the industry expands, more and more people are exposed to the risk of developing addictive behavior

Pennsylvania’s National Gambling Awareness Month has started early as Governor Josh Shapiro’s administration seeks to help players struggling with harm. In line with the nationwide campaign, the Shapiro administration wants to increase awareness and promote the use of safer gambling tools.

According to recent studies, more and more people struggle with gambling problems. Data shows that a whopping 2,800 people contacted the Pennsylvania Gambling Hotline in 2023 alone. This represents a staggering increase of more than 400 people from the prior year.

This was echoed by Josh Ercole, director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling, who pointed out that calls have tripled since 2019.

As the industry expands, more and more people are exposed to the risk of developing addictive behavior. The issue is further exacerbated by online gambling, which tends to appeal to younger players.

Problem gambling can also lead to financial hurdles and undermine affected persons’ relationships with loved ones. In worst-case scenarios, indebted players may even try to take their own lives.

National Gambling Awareness Month is all about mitigating the negative effects of problem gambling. Pennsylvania’s decision to kick off the initiative earlier demonstrates the Shapiro administration’s desire to shield local players and promote recovery.

Pennsylvanian Organizations Highlight the Importance of Safer Play

Kelly Primus, deputy secretary at the Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention, said that gambling, in some ways, is much like alcohol and tobacco. While legal, it carries certain risks and “can sometimes become a problem.”

Liz Lanza, the director of the Office of Compulsive & Problem Gambling, also commented on the matter, highlighting the importance of safer play. She emphasized that a part of all gambling proceeds is set aside for safer gambling initiatives in the state.

Brad, a recovering gambling addict, also commented on the matter, saying that treatment has helped him a lot. During his worst period, he would borrow money from friends and family and, at one point, considered suicide.

While he gets tempted to play again from time to time, Brad has managed to stay away from gambling for over a decade. He said that he now has a happy life, all thanks to the treatment he received.

In the meantime, the PGCB continues to watch over the market and penalize companies that violate the Commonwealth’s gambling rules.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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