June 2, 2023 3 min read


DC Eliminates Problem Gambling Funding from Budget

The decision to cut problem gambling funding designates DC as the first jurisdiction in the US to take such action

The expansion of legal gambling activities can bring many benefits such as tax revenue and a safe place for consumers to place bets. But while those benefits are present within regulated gambling markets, so is problem gambling. To curb the rate of problem or at risk-gambling, jurisdictions use different methods. In Europe, some countries restrict the amount bettors can wager on online slots per spin for example and ban unlicensed online gambling operators.

Similarly, in the US, efforts to counter problem gambling are often a part of the legislation that legalizes such activities in the first place. Although rules differ from one state to another, a percentage of the gambling tax revenue is usually dedicated to treating problem gambling, as well as prevention and research. And while online gambling and mobile betting activities continue to attract popularity, one US jurisdiction recently removed the funding dedicated to problem gambling.

As announced by SportsHandle, recently, the District of Columbia voted on its FY 2024 budget. The latest vote of the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole approved the budget but effectively eliminated the $200,000 funding that is usually dedicated annually to the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) for problem gambling. The action comes after earlier this year, the DBH revealed that it hasn’t spent any of the funds that were previously dedicated to problem gambling. Additionally, it said that it would not need them when going forward.

Problem Gamblers Need Proper Treatment

The cutting of funds raised quite a few eyebrows, especially amid the growing popularity of mobile betting and online gambling. In fact, Brianne Doura-Schawohl, a problem and responsible gambling advocate and expert, criticized the lawmaker’s decision to remove the $200,000 funding for gambling addiction. She explained that anyone can be impacted by problem gambling which is why proper support from experts in problem gambling is needed for people who are struggling with gambling addiction or may struggle in the future.

What an incredibly disheartening and maddening day for the people of DC.

Brianne Doura-Schawohl, problem and responsible gambling advocate and expert

Doura-Schawohl stressed the importance of funding problem gambling treatment, research and prevention. “As a result of today’s decision, the mayor and council have failed to adequately provide for, protect, and serve the people of Washington, DC,” she explained. According to Doura-Schawohl, given that the jurisdiction continues to benefit from legal gambling activities, it is paramount to protect the consumers from excessive or at-risk gambling.

It is quite surprising to see Washington DC cut DBH’s funding for problem gambling. This is because the dedication of those funds is a part of the sports betting legislation which was greenlighted in May 2019. At the same time, other US states dedicate even more funds to preventing problem gambling, engaging in research and treatment.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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