A pair of Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation to create a Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Advisory Committee.
The bill comes after the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VCPG) saw a 143% increase in intake calls over the last three years.
Bi-partisan officials sponsor bill proposing problem gambling committee
In a joint press release, Republican State Senator Bryce Reeves said, “as Virginia moves forward with the expansion of gaming, it’s important that we understand the ills that come with it.”
With the recent addition of Virginia casinos, state gambling options now include:
- Horse racing
- Slot parlors
- VA sports betting
- State lottery
Reeves and Democratic State Representative Paul Krizek are each co-sponsors of HB 1465. The summary of the bill reads:
“Directs the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to establish and maintain the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Advisory Committee to enable collaboration among prevention and treatment providers and operators of legal gaming in the Commonwealth on efforts to reduce the negative effects of problem gambling.”
Virginia problem gambling committee would help at-risk young adults
If passed, the new problem gambling committee would be chaired by the state’s problem gambling prevention coordinator. The prevention coordinator is a new position created within the DBHDS.
Additionally, the committee will feature representatives from all state agencies that regulate gambling.
While announcing the bill, Krizek mentioned data from a 2021 survey. The data showed that over 21% of Virginia high schoolers said they had gambled in the past year.
“We know from prevention research that people who begin gambling in their teens are at a higher risk of developing a problem with gambling. And that one of the fastest growing groups to have gambling problems are young adults.”
The VCPG runs the state problem gambling hotline. In 2021, the hotline had 816 calls from residents seeking help with gambling issues. In 2020, the hotline received 335 intake calls.
Virginia has resources to help anyone in need get into recovery. The best resource is contacting the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-532-3500.
The call is toll-free and confidential. You will have access to an experienced professional to help guide you.