Virginia Finds Success in Helping People Suffering from Gambling Addiction

It is widely recognized that encouraging safer gambling is beneficial for both gambling operators and gamblers themselves.

Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health brings down problem gambling rates.

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Teaching people to gamble in a safe and sustainable manner means that they will become returning customers. Around the world, there are various efforts underway to combat problem gambling and it seems that the state of Virginia has struck upon a successful formula.

Over the last few years, Virginia has reformed its gambling laws and greatly expanded the industry. This caused an initial surge in problem gambling rates; however, recent times have seen a significant reduction in addiction rates.

The director of the Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health, Carolyn Hawley, said that they saw a 973% increase in callers between 2019 and 2023. This prompted the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and Hawley to create a treatment system for gambling addiction.

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An Astounding 96% Success Rate

In the first quarter of this year, 166 people were referred to the partnership between Hawley’s team and VCU. More than half of these people went on to have treatment. Other programs in the USA have reported that just 4-10% of referrals go on to have treatment.

The low treatment rate in other states has been blamed on a lack of manpower. However, the Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health has built a network of 105 providers, ensuring that the resources are available to treat all who need it.

Most impressively, 96% of those who have undergone treatment report that it has helped them either reduce their gambling or stop gambling altogether.

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Creating a Model for Other States

Hawley is excited about the success of the program and she said that it could be used as an example for other states and jurisdictions to follow.

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

Carolyn HawleyDirector of the Virginia Partnership for Gaming and Health

However, while the program is effective, there are still concerns regarding the increase in the number of people who need treatment. Nonetheless, if its success can be consistently replicated elsewhere, then it is an extremely positive development for the industry.

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