Online Behavioral Health Services in Puerto Rico
Are you struggling with gambling or gaming addiction/disorder? Or, are you concerned about someone in your family or organization? You're not alone.
Problem Gambling Treatment and Therapy in Puerto Rico
As a U.S. Territory, Puerto Rico shares a number of characteristics with the United States, including legal, monetary, security and tariff systems. Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents are U.S. citizens and as such can move freely to and from the country. As a result, there are many cultural crossovers and similarities between the two, many of which foster an environment of enriching diversity. However, there is one unfortunate shared characteristic; gambling disorder.
A Brief Background on Problem Gambling in Puerto Rico
Casino gaming has persisted in the Territory for many years. The government controls and regulates all forms of gambling in Puerto Rico and has permitted land-based casinos to operate on the properties of hotels and resorts, most of which are concentrated in the capital city of San Juan on the island’s Atlantic coast. While Puerto Rico has had similar access to land-based casino gaming as many of its U.S. state counterparts, the island’s struggle with problem gambling has been proportionately higher. A 2002 study found that 6.8% of the adult population in Puerto Rico scored as probable pathological gamblers. The prevalence rate from the sample was dramatically higher than prevalence rates for probable pathological gambling found in the general population of any other jurisdictions where similar surveys were conducted. This rate is more than double that for the United States of America.
Of course, residents have found ways to wager inside and outside of the regulated environment. During the same timeline of the aforementioned study, pathological gamblers in Puerto Rico spent most of their money and time on horse racing and cockfighting (27.9%), in the casino (18.8%), and playing the lottery (17.9%) in addition to participating in unregulated wagering on sporting events (5.8%). Other gambling activities included “playing the numbers”, card games,. dice games, and more. Where there was a will, there was a way, and this paved the way for gambling addiction in Puerto Rico.
The Introduction of Sports Betting
The need for gambling addiction treatment and therapy has grown at an unprecedented pace since House Resolution 2038 was passed in 2019. The passing of Bill 2038 allowed retail sportsbooks and online betting sites to offer their services to residents on the island. In the spring of 2023, BetMGM and Caesars Entertainment were awarded mobile sports betting licenses by regulators in Puerto Rico. BetMGM was the first to
capitalize, and launched their mobile sports betting app to the masses in Puerto Rico in the summer of the same year.
Increased Demand for Problem Gambling Treatment in Puerto Rico
If what has happened in the regulated markets of the USA is any indicator, that 6.8% problem gambling population in Puerto Rico is about to grow even bigger. Problem gambling support services must grow at an equal to or greater rate to keep up with the demand. While there are about a dozen gambling addiction treatment centers in Puerto Rico, only online resources can reach everyone who needs help. With a current adult population of 2,644,482, and a pathological gambler rate of 6.8%, there are nearly 180,000 residents in need of support in any given annum.
This is where Kindbridge Behavioral Health comes in.
Kindbridge has entered the Territory to provide people, households, groups, organizations, and educational institutions with much-needed support. We have created an affordable, welcoming, and safe virtual environment where clients/patients get immediate help for gambling disorders.