The new year is here, and while Kindbridge has released our problem gambling predictions for 2024, it’s time for a look at what has occurred through the month of January thus far. As expected, early signs indicate that the mental and behavioral health of Americans will continue to be challenged by the growth of sports betting and gaming across the nation. Let’s review.
January 2024 Developments Regarding Problem Gambling that Individuals, Households, and Organizations Should Know About
Sports Betting Goes Live in Vermont; 7000 residents signup in 12 hours
Back in June 2023, it was announced that Vermont was about to enter the regulated sports betting market. It is now a reality, as it went live as of January 10. Vermont’s regulatory body, Department of Liquor and Lottery, has selected DraftKings, FanDuel and Fanatics Sportsbook to operate sports betting in the state. It didn’t take long for the population to respond, as within the first 12 hours an estimated 7,000 residents registered and subsequently deposited an average of $15,000 in total wagers per hour. Given that nearly 2.5% of the state’s adult population already suffer from problem gambling, the call for increased gambling disorder treatment is as loud in the Green Mountain State as it has ever been.
Caregiver Steals Fortune from Blind and Immobile Emmy Award-Winner to Fund Lottery Tickets
The headline above seems too ridiculous to be true, but when it comes to what people will do when they have a gambling addiction, all bets are off. This story from the first week of January comes from across the pond. A blind and incapacitated Emmy award-winning film writer’s (Alan Pattillo) caregiver has admitted to stealing almost $100,000 USD from him shortly before his death to fuel his gambling addiction. Allan Beacham spent the money on lottery tickets, which reinforces the position that lottery (Powerball and similar types of lottery games) is indeed a form of gambling that comes with all of the known dangers.
Fed Up Feds Announce Bill to Study and Treat Problem Gambling
Following the news and data like the rest of us, members of the federal government have launched the new year by introducing a landmark piece of legislation aimed at treating and studying gambling addiction. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas have introduced the Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act. The bill would make history as the first piece of legislation to create a federal funding stream to address problem gambling. This aligns with our prediction that the U.S. would see a task force level initiative to fight gambling addiction in 2024. Between Kindbridge Research Institute and Kindbridge Behavioral Health, the federal government has access to the resources needed to support a population in crisis.
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