Arkansas Officials Ask Gambling Harm Program Providers to Submit Proposals

Arkansas state officials have asked educational and treatment service providers to come forth with proposals for residents that have a gambling disorder. The Arkansas Racing Commission is required to donate a minimum of $200,000 each year to gambling harm programs as a result of a constitutional amendment made three-and-a-half years ago. 

Criteria for the Program Has Been Revealed 

Providers that want to offer educational and treatment programs for problem gamblers will have to develop a comprehensive program. Additionally, the prospective provider will have to have a minimum of one year of experience in successfully treating gambling disorders. 

Being able to develop and sustain clinical treatment and recovery support services for people that are problem gamblers or have problem gamblers in their tight circle (family or friends) will also be a must.

The proposals will be reviewed by a committee and the final decision will be made between September 19 and October 4. The name of the review committee hasn’t been revealed, though. 

Arkansas Racing Commission’s current funding was approved by voters in November 2018. The amendment is called Amendment 100, through which the commission licensed 4 casinos, located in Pine Bluff, West Memphis, Hot Springs, and Russellville. The Russellville hasn’t been constructed yet. 

Apart from the licenses, the commission was also required to donate at least $200,000 annually to gambling harm and educational programs. 

The Arkansas Problem Gaming Council Will Submit a Proposal  

Venna Scheksneder, the chair of Arkansas Problem Gaming Council’s board, stated that the council will submit a proposal. He added that the council will reach out to 4 behavioral agencies in Arkansas and contact an out-of-state provider via the National Council on Problem Gambling. 

National Council on Problem Gambling’s executive director, Keith Whyte, confirmed that the council submitted an application and noted that the National Council on Problem Gambling will vote on the matter on July 20.

In regards to the funding process, Schexnayder stated that $200,000 is not much to work with, but said that the council will be “creative and get it done.” Schexnayder added that one of the issues that Arkansas is facing is the fact that it does not have a clear estimate of the number of problem gamblers in the state. 

The deadline for submitting proposals is August 2, 2 pm. The state plans to hand out the contract on November 1. Once the contract is issued the Arkansas Racing Commission will be obliged to provide the provider with $200,000 each year. 

Gambling in Arkansas is under massive expansion. The fiscal year 2021 resulted in a total of $5.84 billion being wagered at the state’s casinos. This number could increase with the development of new casinos, one of which is in Pope County. However, there are massive efforts against the casino development project

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