Industry Reports

West Virginia Hosts Problem Gambling Conference and Training

The recent ruling of the US Supreme Court in favor of New Jersey not only put an end to the state’s long-lasting legal battle but also lifted the nationwide ban on sports betting. However, apart from new revenue sources for the US states, the liberalization of the local sports betting market also raised some questions regarding the possible growth of gambling addiction.

Thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling, every state would be able to individually decide whether to legalize sports betting operations or not. As far as West Virginia is concerned, the state has already demonstrated its interest towards the new gambling options, with sports betting expected to be added to the legislative and regulatory landscape of the state at some point this summer.

March 2018 saw the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act passed, with the state lottery commission working to forge adequate regulations in line with the liberalization of the local sports betting market which are expected to be rolled out by the end of the summer or the beginning of fall.

As mentioned above, the addition of sports betting raised some questions related to problem gambling and unveiling the right measures to tackle gambling-related harm. This is exactly why West Virginia’s Problem Gamblers Help Network is hosting a conference which is especially focused on helping people who deal with problem gambling. One of the major topics which are being included in this week’s conference is gambling among children.

Morgantown Conference Focused on Children Gambling

Sheila Moran from Problem Gamblers Help Network revealed that according to the organization’s findings, children get involved with gambling activities usually bet online. The fact that the majority of children have access to smartphones, tablets, etc. since a very young age, does not help, because few parents actually realize that a lot of these devices offer easily reachable gambling elements and options, which could end up with their children spending real money.

The conference is being attended by psychologists, counselors and social workers from all over the state. In addition, the 1-800-Gambler Program brought some experts to train gambling addiction counselors on how to treat players who suffer from sports betting addiction. New counselors are also being trained in order to boost the number of available specialists in the state. For the time being, there are between 60 and 70 counselors around West Virginia. What is more, another group of counselors is being specially trained in how to work with children in terms of problem gambling prevention and treatment.

The Morgantown conference and training are also focused on the recent studies, according to which a growing number of young people are getting involved in gambling and become problem gamblers. Only days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially added gaming disorder to the list of mental health disorders, saying it is a mental health issue.