Why Virginia’s gambling Expansion Needs to Reiterate Focus on Problem Gambling

Why Virginia’s gambling Expansion Needs to Reiterate Focus on Problem Gambling

So far, 20 states in the US have legalized sports betting, and several others are planning to create regulated markets in their borders this year. One of the most important markets to debut soon would be Virginia, but experts suggest that the state cannot overlook its problem gambling issues for too long.

How will Virginia be impacted by sports betting?

The state already faces problems because of problem gambling. Data suggest that at least 5% of its adult population is at risk of gambling-related harm. This includes gambling addiction as well as problem gambling. The state handles these problems via its telephone hotline managed by Virginia Council on Problem Gambling. This non-profit by Virginia Lottery receives $30,000 each year to fund its operations. However, given the scope of the problem and the upcoming gambling expansion plan, it is inadequate to handle the problems of the state.

Why Virginia’s gambling Expansion Needs to Reiterate Focus on Problem Gambling

Interestingly, the non-profit witnessed a 100% rise in the number of phone calls related to problem gambling between 2018 and 2019. The rise coincides with the reopening of Colonial Dawns and its refreshed gambling outlets. The lottery prints the hotline number on every lottery ticket as well as printed materials it distributed, but simply diverting people to the hotline will not be enough now.

Resources need funding

Experts suggest that the state needs to provide additional funding to resources that help in fighting problems related to gambling addiction. The existing funding is not sustainable, given that the number of casualties is on the rise. According to the latest report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC),

“Virginia’s current problem gambling prevention and treatment efforts are minimal and need to be enhanced, even if gaming is not expanded.”

It suggests that these efforts should get at least $2 million to $6 million in funding to ensure their smooth operation and to provide real relief to at-risk people. They also suggest that a third-party could be used to help with the monitoring and evaluation of the same.

Virginia lawmakers understand the problems and have acknowledged that it could be a major issue down the line. Therefore, they are working on solving these issues and bringing regulatory measures that could help this cause.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.