Austintown racino hosts responsible gaming event - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Austintown racino hosts responsible gaming event

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AUSTINTOWN TWP., Ohio -

Every year, Penn-National Gaming, one of the largest operators of gaming facilities in the country, conducts a week-long Responsible Gaming Education Week. The new Hollywood Gaming racino in Austintown is a part of the program for the first time.

A number of local and state officials took part in the launch of Austintown's first Responsible Gaming Education Week.

Penn-National says responsible gaming means having fun and playing within your limit. Karen Russo, Outreach and Problem Gambling Coordinator for the Ohio Lottery Commission says it's when gaming stops being fun that people need to know that help is available.

"It's all about awareness and teaching families and relatives of their loved ones just what steps to take and that there is help," Russo said.

For people who want to know more about problem gambling and where to get help, Merridian Healthcare actually has a booth on the floor at the racino this week. Counselors say when people stop paying their bills, or start writing bad checks, it becomes a community problem.

"Financial debt doesn't just hit the individual and those people around them, a lot of other people face damages from it as well," said Nikunj Patel, of Recovery By Merridian.

Merridian says it averages three to four people per month for problems with gambling, and that number hasn't changed in the year that Hollywood Gaming has been open.

Hollywood Gaming says it takes responsible gaming very seriously, and even allows a person to voluntarily exclude or ban themselves from the facility.

"We offer them the opportunity to exclude themselves either for one year, five years, or a permanent ban," Hollywood Gaming, General Manager, Mike Galle said.

Responsible Gaming Week is designed to raise awareness and to educate the public about treating gaming as a budgeted form of entertainment. The week-long event runs through August 7th.

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