Problem Gambling Awareness Month: Arizona Committed To Responsible Gambling

Written By Play AZ Editorial Team on March 1, 2022
problem gamblers

If you, or someone you know has questions about problem gambling resources in Arizona, please call (800) 639-8783 or text “NEXT-STEP” to 53342.

Over 18 states have begun online betting operations, with many states already seeing some significant upsides and benefits.

Amid the excitement of legalized sports betting in Arizona, it is important to call attention to the efforts surrounding responsible gambling initiatives.

Here is a look at what Arizona is doing to educate bettors around gambling addiction.

Responsible gambling resources

Arizona provides resources to help problem gamblers. These include a self-assessment quiz, educational videos, and a 24/7 helpline. Bettors can also fill out a self-exclusion form. The form bars them from participating with licensed sportsbooks.

Arizona provides access to several support groups, including:

  • Gamblers Anonymous
  • Gam-Anon
  • Gamtalk

The state also provides both in-person and virtual support. There is also an emphasis on directing compulsive gamblers to licensed professionals. Councilors can offer advice and help with treatments options.

Arizona can learn a lot of valuable lessons from other states. New York enjoyed a massively successful rollout. The state generated 70 million in tax revenue in the first month of legalized gambling.

New York has already pledged to direct funds to problem gambling prevention. It’s critical for states to use tax revenue dollars to support treatment, outreach, and recovery programs.

States like New York and Arizona provide education, awareness, and support resources. Promoting responsible gambling is also a priority. Using legalized betting to help mitigate the downside is a win-win proposition.

Removing the gambling addiction stigma

Gambling addiction is challenging to quantify. This is because of its subjective nature and reliance on self-reporting. Current estimates show that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from a gambling problem. Of those classified as gambling addicts, 60% reported wanting help. However, only around 25% seek help.

In the past, the legality of gambling was a significant barrier. Due to it being illegal in most states, many gamblers had reservations about coming forward.

There was also a lot of unregulated criminal activity. 80-90% of people who attend Gamblers Anonymous have reported committing an unlawful act to get money to gamble. Fraud was also a significant issue, with 63% reporting writing bad checks at some point.

Legalized sports betting laws help shine a spotlight on past nefarious activity, offering a better road forward. By monitoring how bets get made, states can reduce illegal activity and fraud.

The National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) is making strides toward eliminating the stigma of gambling addiction by sharing stories of sorrow, financial ruin, support, reinvention, and recovery.

Problem gambling and Arizona legal sports betting

Legalized sports betting contributes to increased accessibility for prospective bettors. Some experts have concerns about a rise in problem gamblers known as the “exposure effect.”

So is there a link between recently legalized sports betting and problem gambling? According to a 2021 report, there is insufficient data to form a clear correlation. Despite the popularity, Arizona currently ranks 41st in gambling addiction prevalence.

Arizona currently generates over 2 million dollars a year to fund problem gambling support. The NCPG has also pledged grant money to non-profits that help fund further outreach initiatives and support.

Legalized gambling will continue to scale. Refining services to address compulsive gambling will grow and improve over time.

Arizona’s commitment to responsible gambling

The future of legalized sports betting in Arizona is bright. With that said, it is essential to recognize and acknowledge the prevalence of problem gamblers. Directing funds toward awareness, prevention, and treatment is an excellent first step.

Arizona has done a great job of promoting safe gambling so far. With more financial resources, they’ll have more tools at their disposal.

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