June 24, 2024 2 min read

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Virginia Program Succeeds in Addressing Problem Gambling

The state, for context, has been easing up its gambling laws and expanding its industry over the last few years

Addressing problem gambling is one of the cornerstones of the contemporary regulated gambling industry. While safer gambling is still in its infancy in many markets, most jurisdictions have been struggling to really curb the problem gambling rates. Virginia, however, has recorded significant success in treating addiction.

The state, for context, has been easing up its gambling laws and expanding its industry over the last few years. As a result of the abundance of gambling options, however, the Old Dominion experienced a significant increase in problem gambling.

Luckily, the state’s treatment efforts have been successful, leading to a subsequent decline in addiction rates.

According to Carolyn Hawley, director of the Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health, her team recorded a whopping 973% increase in callers between 2019 and 2023. While gambling addiction tends to be tricky and very dangerous, the treatment system created by Hawley and the VCU’s Department of Rehabilitation Counseling seems to be working.

Virginia Is Tackling the Problem Head-on

In the first quarter of 2024, Hawley’s team had 166 referrals to the partnership. More than half of these referrals were connected with treatment. For comparison, other programs across the US usually see only 4-10% of referrals connected to treatment.

The lower percentage in other states has been attributed to manpower shortage but the Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health has managed to create a robust network of 105 providers, allowing it to help many more people.

What makes this program so special, though, is the fact that a stellar 96% of people who have received treatment say that it has helped them reduce their gambling or stop it altogether.

Hawley herself is excited about the program’s success and believes that it could set an example to other regulated jurisdictions.

What we’re doing here in Virginia is truly remarkable and we’re becoming a model for other states to follow.

Carolyn Hawley

While the program seems to be having the intended effect, some are still concerned about the significant increase in people seeking treatment. In any case, the availability of treatment certainly provides some relief to families, considering the dangers of problem gambling and the suicides related to it.

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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