Committee Approves Ortitay Bill to Streamline Problem Gambling Assistance
HARRISBURG — The House Gaming Oversight Committee today reported out Rep. Jason Ortitay’s (R-Washington/Allegheny) legislation to streamline the Commonwealth’s problem gambling assistance telephone number and put into law current practice involving education, awareness and training for problem gaming.
“This legislation passed both chambers of the General Assembly last session, but died before differences between the House and Senate versions could be reconciled,” Ortitay said. “I’m hopeful with the movement of this bill early in the legislative session that it will get to the governor’s desk. It is important that a consistent telephone number be available across the state for those with a gambling addiction so they know where to turn for help.”
House Bill 271
would require the Department of Health to establish and maintain one toll-free problem gambling assistance number, which all in-state casinos would then be required to make available to patrons. Currently, casinos must publicize a gambling assistance number to its visitors. A 2105 hearing by the House Gaming Oversight Committee showed that several toll-free assistance numbers are being maintained and publicized at casinos throughout the Commonwealth. This portion of the legislation passed the House last session as part of a larger bill, but it stalled in the Senate.
The bill also would update the Gaming Act to require the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) to administer programming for public education, awareness and training for the treatment and prevention of compulsive and problem gaming. Current law gives the Department of Health this authority, although DDAP has been administering these programs.
For more information about problem gambling, and for tips on how to help a friend or loved one overcome a gambling problem, visit PAProblemGambling.com
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick