Virginia announced the creation of a Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Advisory Committee to provide more responsible gambling resources.
It is a part of SB836 that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Republican state Sen. Bryce Reeves signed into law. The law goes into effect on July 1.
The measure aims to prevent gambling addiction and focuses on providing resources to individuals fighting gambling addiction.
New committee will focus on gambling treatment and support
When the new law takes effect on July 1, the committee will consist of state regulators who will oversee the following gambling sectors:
- The lottery
- Sports betting
- Horse racing
- Charitable gaming
The state will also appoint:
- Representatives from each of the gambling sectors
- A representative from the non-profit Virginia Council on Problem Gambling
- The executive director of a local community services board
- The state’s problem gambling prevention coordinator
The coordinator role will be part of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. The state agency works to address addiction, suicide and other mental health issues.
In addition to this new committee, Virginia also offers a self-exclusion program through the Virginia Lottery, banning an individual from placing a bet for a set amount of time.
Virginia also offers a problem gambling hotline and Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
Young Virginias gambling is the state’s greatest concern
According to Reeves, Virginia has recently seen a rise in youth gambling rates.
In a news release from April, Reeves noted that Virginia’s annual youth survey indicated that almost two-thirds of Virginians between the ages of 18 and 25 gambled during March.
As The Daily Progress reported, Reeves commented:
“As a father, it pains me to see how our youth have been affected by gambling and all the ills that come with it. The Virginia Problem Gambling Hotline has seen a 143% increase in calls over the last few years, which I feel is deeply representative of this growing issue.
I look forward to the committee’s establishment this July and the progress they will make in ensuring Virginians are given the knowledge, tools and abilities to prevent and overcome gambling addiction.”
Likewise, according to an analysis by the Virginia Mercury, there have been 143% more calls to the Virginia Problem Gambling Hotline over the past three years.
A 2021 Virginia Youth Survey showed that 21% of high school students said they had placed a bet over the last year. Sixty-five percent of the young adults aged 18-25 said they had gambled in the 30 days before taking the survey.
With young people placing bets at such early ages and currently 15 online sports betting platforms to choose from, the bill aiming to provide more responsible gambling resources comes just in time.