State Grant Sets Example For Addressing Problem Gambling

Written By Derek Helling on January 23, 2020
A Centerstone problem gambling grant shows how state governments, gambling companies and treatment centers can work together.

Every time gambling expands in a state, there are concerns about increased dangers for people with compulsive gambling issues. A recent Centerstone problem gambling grant shows how everyone involved can address that concern.

Funds from the state of Illinois will support treatment for such individuals at the nonprofit healthcare organization. Part of those funds will go toward programs in coordination with gambling operations in the southern part of the state.

Details of the Centerstone problem gambling grant

The Illinois Department of Human Services Substance Use Prevention and Recovery unit awarded the grant of an undisclosed amount to Centerstone. Centerstone provides many health services to people in the southern part of the state.

With the funds, Centerstone has partnered with gambling companies like Lucy’s Place in Springfield. The thrust is creating and sharing educational materials for gamblers.

That’s important because one of the crucial steps to those with gambling problems receiving treatment is awareness. Such individuals are unlikely to take advantage of the programs if they are unaware they exist or how to access them.

When gambling expansion hits the Land of Lincoln, there is a chance for many more such partnerships. The new revenue for the state will partially go toward this cause.

How problem gambling treatment will expand in Illinois

When new casinos and sportsbooks open in Illinois, the state will collect new tax revenue from those gambling operations. A portion of those funds will go directly to problem gambling treatment programs.

Once the funds are available, it’s up to the places that currently provide or aim to provide such services to apply for grants. Once the state determines suitability and awards the grants, it’s on those facilities to use those funds to the maximum benefit of Illinoisans.

In this way, part of every dollar spent at legal Illinois gambling establishments goes toward helping out fellow Illinoisans. Because of that, gamblers can feel better about their support of such establishments.

The requirements for gambling operations go beyond funding treatment programs, however. There are requirements along these lines for those businesses both new and old.

How legal gambling operations already contribute to problem gambling treatment

Casinos and, someday, legal sportsbooks are required to prominently display contact information for problem gambling helplines and other resources. In addition, the state charges gambling license holders with being in compliance with Know Your Customer protocols.

That can mean several different things. The biggest for gambling problems is operating according to a self-exclusion program.

Through that program, those with gambling problems can choose varying levels at which they can voluntarily bar themselves from gambling. That ranges from spending limits to complete bans and varies in length of time.

It’s on establishments offering gambling to check these registries before allowing people to place bets. That way, even if such individuals have moments of weakness, the damage is minimized.

Just like with any other form of assistance, the original onus is on the gambler her/himself to use these services. As programs like the one at Centerstone continue to grow in Illinois, people in the state can’t claim such services don’t exist.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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