Are you willing to roll the dice?

Published by Alex Hanczar, Date: April 17, 2024

Editor’s note: All statistics and facts come from the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.

Is the adrenaline rush you get from a big win worth it in the end?

On March 19, Dan Trolaro, vice president of prevention at Epic Global Solutions stopped by Slippery Rock University to deliver an important message.

Trolaro was welcomed to the university in collaboration with Keystone Wellness Programs (KWP).

KWP is a non-profit organization that promotes health communities specifically targeted toward kids and adults. Their health professionals help across Pennsylvania communities in many different aspects of prevention.

Amy Black-Stockham of KWP worked with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania (COCGOPA) to make the event happen.

Josh Ercole was a key player in bringing Trolaro’s name up as someone who may be of value to visit SRU. Ercole works with COCGOPA to help bring these events to life and ensure success for all parties.

“He is a good fit for a lot of audiences,” Black-Stockham said. “Dan is one of the most impactful people that I have heard in relation to this particular addiction because of his ability to connect with the audience. He’s just dynamic.”

With the help of Ercole and KWP, Trolaro gave his excellent story and lesson to students and faculty at the university.

His message for students, athletes and faculty was clear: do your research and proceed with caution.

Trolaro was a perfect guest for Slippery Rock, as Pennsylvanians spent an outrageous amount of money on gambling this past year.

Through retail and online gambling services, a total of over $7.5 billion was spent in Pennsylvania in 2023.

To put this into a sports perspective and to show how much of an impact sports have on gambling today, over $71 million was spent on the Super Bowl alone.

The college age group is an extreme factor in these statistics, according to Black-Stockham.

In fact, gambling has been identified as a massive threat to collegiate sports according to the NCAA.

NCAA claims that gambling threatens the integrity of sports. A good example of this can be displayed in professional sports as well. NFL star Calvin Ridley was suspended an entire year for sports betting in March 2022. This is a problem at both the collegiate and professional levels.

In terms of collegiate athletes, the statistics are staggering. Sixty-two percent of men have gambled within the prior year, and 43% of women.

Losing money or gaining a gambling addiction is not the only issue in all of this. Other dangerous addictions can follow and harm many.

Issues like drugs, alcohol and mental health disorders often follow a gambling addiction. Of problem gamblers, 75% have had or developed an issue with alcohol. Thirty-eight percent of problem gamblers find themselves with a drug problem.

Sports betting and gambling are becoming much more than a fun habit. They can ruin lives and happen horrifyingly quickly, just by the click of a few buttons.

Trolaro claimed that he is not necessarily against sports betting, but through his experience, he knows it is not for him. Through his story, Trolaro aims to warn others and teach them responsible gambling, not to quit necessarily completely.

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Alex is a senior majoring in Strategic Communication and Media with a concentration in multimedia journalism. He serves as the assistant sports editor. This is his first semester on The Rocket staff, but he contributed to the sports section in Spring 2023. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends, watching sports and staying busy.


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