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How to maintain responsible gambling in Illinois

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As gambling becomes more popular in Illinois, experts say the potential for more people to become addicted to the games could grow as well, and the state must be ready to deal with it. A study released by the Illinois Department of Human Services says nearly 4% of Illinoisans suffer from a gambling addiction, and almost 8% are at risk of developing one.

Illinois Council on Problem Gambling administrator Bill Johnson says a gambling addiction differs from others. Alcoholics see the solution to their problem as cutting out alcohol, but gamblers see the solution as getting back money they’ve lost.

“They see the answer to their problem, is the problem, they say to themselves a lot, if I could just score one big hit, it would get me out of this trouble,” Johnson said.

A hotline 1-800-GAMBLER, is available to help if someone feels they need it. Hard Rock International Vice President of Global Social Responsibility, Paul Pellizzari, says his company tries to combat addiction as well, training employees to identify at-risk individuals on the game room floor.

“If you see signs of someone maybe showing they’re playing a bit too much or they’re getting agitated or getting frustrated, what is it you do? So we train them on how to have those conversations, and give that support to people who need it,” he told 23 News.

The company will also ensure that people who struggle with gambling get information on where to go for help.

“One of the things that this industry has learned and grown with as gambling has expanded is that responsible gambling is part of our business, and we understand better what people go through,” Pellizzari said.

Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino has an education program called “Players Edge,” an online tool that prevents harmful gambling by helping people reflect on their experiences, choices and strategies.

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