A concerning trend
Officials in both Washington, D.C. and Wyoming seemingly have little to no interest in providing funding to problem gambling services. This is despite gambling addiction being a major talking point as legalized forms of gambling continue to spread across the US. It is also National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, so this news comes with impeccable timing.
money is allocated to fund problem gambling services each year
Legal sports betting is already up and running in both jurisdictions. Under the two respective regulatory frameworks, a certain amount of money is allocated to fund problem gambling services each year.
Potential changes in D.C.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is looking to repeal a sports betting code provision that sees $200,000 in funding going towards the prevention and treatment of problem gambling each year. No indication has been given regarding the motive behind the planned cut. Since the legalization of sports betting in the district, none of the $600,000 collected for problem gambling services has been allocated.
not the first time that Mayor Bowser has looked to pilfer earmarked sports betting funds
This is not the first time that Mayor Bowser has looked to pilfer already earmarked sports betting funds. A sum of $7m that was designated for early childhood and violence prevention services from sports betting sources was moved by Mayor Bowser to the district’s general fund. D.C. Councilmember Robert White criticized that decision as a “classic bait-and-switch.”
Wyoming commissioners snub funding
In Wyoming, the Department of Health reportedly offered $32,141 of state funds to Park County commissioners to help tackle problem gambling. Despite this offer, the board voted unanimously to turn down the funding. Explaining the reasoning behind the vote, Park County Commission Chair Dossie Overfield said: “The gambling thing just did not appear — to our knowledge or the people that we checked with — to be an issue in Park County.”
The first $300,000 in tax revenue from sports betting for a given year in Wyoming is sent to the Department of Health. The department then distributes funds to various county health programs for problem gambling services depending on the jurisdiction’s adult population.