Mercyhurst Civic Institute conducts surveys on gambling addiction

With the emergence of legal casino gambling across Pennsylvania, communities are now trying to grasp the impact of gambling addiction on their respective communities, and the Mercyhurst Civic Institute is doing its part to shed light on the issue.

The Civic Institute is conducting two surveys at the behest of the Erie County Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse as part of a statewide “problem gambling needs assessment.” Researchers will attempt to gauge awareness of gambling opportunities in area municipalities and assess people’s perceptions of gambling addictions. The focus is not strictly on casino gambling, rather all kinds, both legal and illegal, said George Fickenworth, assistant director of the Civic Institute.

The first survey, which concludes Monday, Jan. 24, and is open to the general public, contains questions related to demographics, types of gambling – bingo, lottery, Internet gambling – available in the community; and the effects of problem gambling.

A second survey on many of these same topics is targeted toward a specific audience, among them counselors, teachers and drug and alcohol treatment providers. Both surveys are designed by the state Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP), which worked with the Erie County Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse to commission the problem gambling needs assessment. Other regions of Pennsylvania are also completing surveys.

Statewide results, due to the BDAP by Feb. 4, will be used by the bureau to drive discussion and determine how gambling addictions money will be spent, and what types of programs will be administered at the local levels, Fickenworth explained.
For more information, contact Fickenworth at 824-2183.
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