Lucas Co. leaders focus on fighting gambling addictions - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Lucas Co. leaders focus on fighting gambling addictions

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - With casinos in Cleveland and Toledo expected to open in May, Ohio's Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services is holding a series of seminars to help social workers, clergy members, law enforcement officers and others to learn more about the potential dangers of gambling addictions.

Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak was joined by members of the Ohio Casino Control Commission among others, to announce a two-day seminar that is being held in Toledo next week. It is training aimed to help local professionals recognize the signs of compulsive gambling and help with prevention efforts.

"These sessions are incredibly important," said Wozniak. "With the proper training, caregivers in Toledo will be able to recognize the signs of compulsive gambling and help with prevention, as well as get people to the help they need. In the process, I believe a trained community is a smarter community."

Those at the press conference pointed to national surveys, which estimated about 85 percent of the population has gambled and 1 percent of the population has problems with gambling addictions. Even with many gambling opportunities already available, a casino opening in the Glass City could present a new dynamic to people who might be on the tipping point.

"When you have a casino, that number is going to go up dramatically and we're going to have to figure out, as individuals, how we deal with the community, and as professionals, how we treat people because it brings a lot of devastation in its wake," said Pete Silverman of the OCCC.

The seminar focusing on the foundations of disordered gambling is being held March 26 and 27 at the University of Toledo Scott Park campus. The cost of the seminar is $30. The hope is to attract social workers, counselors, clergy members, police officers and others to attend. Wozniak urged everyone interested in this issue to register and attend the training.

Meanwhile the OCCC will be holding hearings in the next 30 days for issuing a casino operator license to Penn National, with the grand opening targeted for the week of May 28.

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