It’s been five years since the first casino opened in Maryland- Hollywood Casino in Perryville . Now five are operating, with a sixth scheduled to open next year. In recent weeks the Washington Post and the CityPaper in Baltimore have published evidence that the number of problem gamblers has risen with the number of gambling outlets. Evidence like a 30 percent increase in the number of Gamblers Anonymous chapters in Maryland, as well as a reported increase in the number of regular attendees. Evidence like police called to casinos four times in five months this year to respond to children or seniors left alone in cars while their parents or caregivers were inside gambling. Evidence like a steady increase in calls for help to the state’s 1-800-GAMBLER help line, to more than 600 calls this past year. All of which raises the question: Is Maryland doing enough to help people who can’t control the urge to gamble?
For some perspective, we’re joined on the phone by Lori Rugle, program director for the Center for Excellence on Problem Gambling, part of the University of Maryland Medical School. Welcome back to the show. Also with us by phone is Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Our segment from a year ago on gambling addiction.