Training classes for gambling addiction counselors are filling up fast. The University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work is offering the classes in anticipation of the opening of the Majestic Star casino next year. A Pitt study in January warned that the region is ill-prepared for an expected rise in gambling addiction.
One group of 30 trainees began classes in February. Another class in May is already full, and a few spots remain in a third class scheduled to begin in September.
Jody Bechtold is conducting the classes. She says the training covers a wide variety of topics, including how to treat family members and address the financial problems that tend to accompany this type of addiction. She says some treatments are even specific to the type of games involved. For instance, people addicted to games of chance like slots often mistakenly believe that playing with more money or staying on one machine for a long period of time can increase their odds. People who are addicted to games of skill like poker may have unrealistic ideas about their abilities.