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Md. Outlines Resources To Help Problem Gamblers

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) –Maryland announced its two casinos raked in more than $13 million last month alone. But the state’s big win means some are losing big. 

Mary Bubala reports the state unveiled a program to help problem gamblers.

While some win, most lose. The state says 5-10 percent of all adults in Maryland are at risk of problem gambling. As part of Maryland’s plan to open casinos across the state, lawmakers made sure help was available for those who can’t handle it.

“The Lottery encourages people to play for entertainment value, to use discretionary money. But it’s not in anybody’s business interest — it’s not in the Lottery, not in the casinos interest — to have people who have a gambling problem participate,” said Stephen Martino, Director of Maryland State Lottery.

So $425 from each of Maryland’s slot machines is dedicated to helping gambling addicts, and already Maryland is gathering information on frequent gamblers.

“Smoke daily, drink daily, 94 percent of those, binge a few times a week 97 percent and use drugs 93 percent,” said Renata Henry, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Maryland has set up a 24-hour hotline, along with a network of treatment programs. It  has something called a Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program, allowing people to bar themselves from entering Maryland’s casinos.

“Whether it’s the exclusion program, the hotline or a resource that people can go to just to get information, this is the responsibility of the state,” said Kirill Reznik, Maryland State Delegate.

To reach the state’s 24-hour hotline for problem gamblers, call 1-800-522-4700. An Internet site outlining ways to get help also has been created. Click here for more information.

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