March 24, 2023 2 min read


Washington DC Mayor Cuts Problem Gambling Services Funding

Washington D.C. Mayor seeks to eliminate all funding for problem gambling services, which lobbyists warn will set the city back in tackling the issue

Sports Handle reported that Washington D.C. has allegedly taken a step back in problem gambling services as the Mayor, Muriel Bowser, seeks to eliminate all funding for the service. 

Mayor’s Budget Cuts Threaten Progress Against Problem Gambling, Warns Lobbyist

Although the Mayor’s office has not made any comments on the motive behind the cut, lobbyist Brianne Doura-Schawohl believes the move will set Washington D.C. back in tackling problem gambling.

Doura-Schawohl highlighted that although the funding was meager compared to an acceptable amount, it would have been better than nothing. The city has not allocated any of the funds it was expected to have received after the legalization of sports betting in late 2019, and the $200,000 in the budget that the mayor seeks to eliminate would have been the only problem gambling funding in the city.

The legislation in the city is clear that the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) is supposed to fund addiction prevention, treatment, and research to create safety nets for those who may develop gambling problems. The DBH has yet to spend the $200,000 it had devoted to problem gambling, which has been in its account for over two years. Although the DBH claimed that there were no satisfactory quotes, Doura-Schawohl stated that the request for quotation (RFQ) was not adequately advertised and was only open for two weeks.

D.C. Residents’ Calls to Gambling Helpline Increase by 109% as Funding Cut Looms

Lobbyist Brianne Doura-Schawohl further discussed that there were 4,892 calls, texts, and chats made by Washington D.C. residents to the National Problem Gambling Helpline in 2022, while 3,623 calls were made in 2021, representing a 109% increase from the previous year. However, after the cut, the lobbyist fears that she will have no funds to fight for problem gambling services in the city.

The move is not the first time that the city has gutted funding meant for prevention and treatment services. After sports betting was legalized in the city with a promise that $7 million would be earmarked for early childhood and violence prevention, the funds were instead moved to the general fund. 

City Administrator Rashad Young explained that it was a better way to approach the policy as it allowed resources to flow to the general fund for funding decisions. However, D.C. Council Member Robert White criticized the move, calling it a classic bait-and-switch tactic.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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