States expand problem gambling assistance programs via sports betting

September 6, 2023

More than 15 US jurisdictions have passed laws requiring state funding for gambling addiction services.

More than five years after the US Supreme Court gave the green light for nationwide sports wagering, several states are doubling down on providing and funding programs to help those who struggle with problem gambling.

Although funding for these programs from state to state have traditionally been low, National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte said states like Kentucky are beginning to allocate a portion of sports betting revenue for problem gambling relief efforts.

He said in an interview with the Washington Times, “The funding is starting to flow, but the amount is still clearly inadequate in most states.”

The state of Kentucky recently set up a new fund for problem gambling relief, which is projected to receive close to $575,000 during the first year.

Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Michael Stone told the Washington Times this is a “decent start,” but pointed out that more certified gambling counselors are necessary to adequately address the state’s needs.

As of 2022, 15 states, along with the District of Columbia, have laws on the books to set aside portions of their sports betting revenue for problem gambling services, according to the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts-Amhurst.

However, more than 30 states have opened commercial sports betting markets since PASPA was overturned five years ago.

Sports betting in Ohio launched early this year. Since the market’s opening, the Buckeye State has required that 2% of its tax revenue is to be used for a “problem sports gambling fund.”

During the past five years, legal sports wagering operators raked in close to $220bn, resulting in $3bn in state and local taxes.


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