Problem Gambling News December 2023

December is upon us, which makes this the final problem gambling news update of 2023. We wish that we could report that America is entering the new year on sturdier legs than it began with when it comes to the problem gambling crisis, but this is not the case. December is already proving to be an eventful month within its first few days. Below are two stories that shine a spotlight on the state of affairs in the USA, and why the call for greater support systems is louder than ever, followed by two more to show that something is being done.

December 2023 Developments Regarding Problem Gambling that Individuals, Households, and Organizations Should Know About

Helpline Calls for Youth Hit Record Numbers

Teenage Gambling Problem USA

In our problem gambling news update from October of 2023, we reported that the New York State Comptroller’s Office experienced a record increase in helpline calls regarding gambling addiction. Now it’s New Jersey that is reporting a major spike, only in this instance, it’s even more concerning because the calls are coming from concerned relatives of teenagers and teens themselves:

“Requests for support through New Jersey’s helpline more than doubled over the ensuing years, as the legal market ballooned. Hundreds of calls from concerned relatives each year have heightened fears in the state that problem gambling is sweeping through a new generation […] Arnie Wexler, a counselor, has not seen anything like this before. ‘We’re killing the youth of America. It’s gotten crazy. Nobody cares,’ he said.”

The Guardian

America has a teenage gambling problem. It’s a mental health crisis that the country will feel even more so, as these teens eventually transition into adulthood. Moreover, the crisis will reverberate for generations to come if adequate support systems aren’t put in place today. While change must be made a regulatory level, there are steps that can be taken by parents/guardians right away, which include the following:

  • Talk to Them About Gambling Advertising
  • Don’t Gamble Around Them
  • Remove Gambling Apps and Block Access on Household Devices
  • Get Them Involved in Sports
  • Ensure Responsible Video-Gaming

For greater insight into youth gambling prevention, click here.

Casino Buys NBA Team

There was a time when professional sports teams distanced themselves from gambling operators so as to protect the integrity of their players, organizations, leagues, and respective sports as a whole. That began to change with the removal of the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, as teams accepted endorsement contracts from gambling operators to supplement revenue lost from struggling industries (auto manufacturers, etc.) that once backed them. It seems that the relationship between gambling and pro-sports is about to get even tighter.

America enters December reeling from the news that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation (via majority owner Miriam Adelson) is going to buy the majority of shares in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks from Mark Cuban. If this sounds familiar, you may recall that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta owned (and still owns) five Golden Nugget hotel and casinos when he purchased the team just a few months prior to the US Supreme Court’s lifting of the ban on sports betting. Fertitta’s ownership was an anomaly at the time, but the dominoes are beginning to fall. The Maverick’s purchase still needs to be approved by the league’s board of governors before becoming official, but all signs point to it being a done deal. It’s not hard to read between the lines about what more is to come from the purchase. The Dallas Mavericks’ current owner Mark Cuban is a longtime proponent of sports betting, and has bigger dreams for gambling in Texas where sports betting is not yet legal. Last year, Cuban publicly floated the idea of partnering with the Sands to build a casino resort in Dallas that included a sports arena. Stay tuned for more as this part of the story develops.

Simply put – another famous Las Vegas casino gaming magnate is about to own an NBA team – which all but slams the door in any arm’s length distance between the “big leagues” and gambling. If leagues and their respective organizations are going to tuck deeper into bed with gambling operators, the need for them to invest in problem gambling support systems should occur concurrently at an equal or greater extent. This will be required to protect vulnerable players and vulnerable fans, who will face increased exposure to gambling promotions, especially if casinos are permitted in arenas.

Kindbridge Partners with U.S. Integrity to Help Support Mental Health Initiatives 

Speaking of supporting athletes and youth (above) Kindbridge Behavioral Health has entered into an innovative partnership with U.S. Integrity (USI) to create a direct avenue for professional and student-athletes in need of mental health services.  At-risk individuals identified by USI’s ProhiBet platform will be extended access to Kindbridge’s cutting-edge telehealth platform, which seamlessly integrates mental health services, clinical research, and technology to deliver holistic care for behavioral addictions such as gambling disorder. Read more about this exciting partnership here.

Kindbridge Research Institute Announces January ROTC Education Program in Colorado

As part of the Kindbridge Research Institute (KRI) ROTC Education Program in Colorado, KRI’s mission is to provide leaders with a fundamental understanding of gambling, problem gambling, gambling disorder, responsible gambling, co-morbid disorders, and problem gambling treatment. CU Boulder and the state of Colorado has funded this program to provide this valuable education and training to the younger generation. KRI has announced that in the beginning of January 2024, cadet training at U.S. Air Force Academy will get underway. If you would like to learn more about this program, please reach out via [email protected].

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