Working towards comprehensive problem gambling mental health care

Innovation is key to organizational success. Not only is it strategically important, but it is also an absolute requirement. It ensures that the solutions being provided to customers are fit for purpose.

Irrespective of this knowledge, many fail to translate the idea of innovation into tangible action. Even though organizations know the impact of the buzzword, opportunities are often missed.

“Innovation is the key to our sustainability”, leaders say. “Without it, we will cease to exist. Our relevancy will dwindle away until we are nothing but the nub of an eraser just one or two marks away from being gone for good.”

They’re not wrong.

Silo working is the common misstep I have seen in the problem gambling management space. Whilst the problem affects an entire population, the teams working on the solution are doing so independently of one another with little macro-level collaboration. They all too frequently try to work within the confines of traditional, established systems that are very slow to change with the times. They struggle to adopt innovative approaches due to bureaucratic restrictions. It’s hard to break free from 40 + years of laid foundation work. Unfortunately, it was not built in a way that services the gambling population of today.

There needs to be work done to ensure that organizations are solving the problem holistically, instead of as individuals. Many service providers are working with attractive ideas which certainly may make a single piece of the system operate more efficiently. But there is a need to look across the entire spectrum and address the hard issues, allowing a better and broader solution.

That is precisely why we started Kindbridge.

Historically, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act dictated that sports betting was regulated at the federal level. However, in 2018, it was overturned. This meant that states could individually decide how to regulate sports betting. The result was the expansion of Sportsbook and Online Casino across the US. At the same time, care management for problem gamblers was suffering, creating a highly ‘at-risk’ population of gamblers. We decided to move into the space and tackle the complicated processes that prevent a more nationalized approach. The long-term goal is simply to provide a solution for the changing times.

One of our driving ethos is to identify and work with stakeholders to build a better service for those negatively impacted by their gambling and gaming behaviors. We chose partners who, like us, are interested in leveraging the power of innovation and collaboration. We recognize the value and strength of incremental change in creating a stable care system for gamblers and gamers. We are organizing with casino operators, games makers, regulators, sports leagues, health insurance companies, health systems, universities, researchers, charities, councils, and NGO’s. The aim is to create an environment where together, we can provide everyone involved with and responsible for managing problematic play with the tools, resources, and data that they need to find the problem and fix the problem as early as possible.

We want to achieve a virtual center of excellence that can set the global standard for how care is managed across the gambling and gaming players spectrum. In order to do so, we have a number of goals, designed to support therapists:

  1. Allow therapists to accept multiple insurance carriers and operate across state lines
  2. Give therapists access to an incredibly comprehensive training program and the best clinical oversight, allowing them to sense check ideas and share case consults
  3. Provide a comprehensive and independently maintained data set, evaluated to drive treatment innovation
  4. Set a true standard for measuring evidence-based outcomes in gambling and gaming treatment.

With regard to supporting individuals trying to access treatment, we want to eliminate barriers that often get in their way, like logistics, insurance access, and stigma. We are also working to support gamblers and gamers even earlier in their journey by:

  1. exploring integration options in early warning systems with casinos
  2. implanting help tools in care websites and casino websites
  3. working on improving our own site and products so that those struggling have clear signposting for support
  4. working with academics and universities across the country to establish a standard clinical training curriculum that can be adopted clinically in every university nationwide

The future of mental health management for gamblers and gamers has arrived. Now let’s make it even better.

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