Andy Beshear, Governor of Kentucky, recently shared through a Facebook post that nearly $448 million has been wagered since sports betting’s official launch in the state this September. Retail betting accounted for approximately $21 million, while the remaining $427 million came from mobile and online sports betting operators’ platforms.
The Governor, who won reelection in Kentucky this November, said that nearly 650,000 online accounts have been created since September. He added that the generated tax revenue from retail and online gambling is to be utilized to build a “better commonwealth” for all.
Along with the positive aspects, however, some negatives need to be addressed, especially considering that the Kentucky Council of Problem Gambling (KCPG) reported there was an increase in gambling addiction cases across the state. As the holiday season approaches, raising awareness about this issue gets all the more pressing.
KCPG Executive Director Confirmed an Increase in Problem Gambling Calls
Mike Stone, Executive Director of the KCPG, confirmed that the number of calls associated with problem gambling had doubled from September to October. Gambling support representatives have processed an average of two such calls per day. This could be attributed to sports betting’s wide accessibility and popularity. Besides mobile sports betting apps, there is an abundance of other gambling products across the state, such as slot machines, lottery outlets, bingos, raffles, and horse races that provide favorable conditions for engaging in gambling.
Problem gambling behavior can affect even children and teenagers as the holiday season approaches along with a wealth of gambling and betting giveaways and promotions. Mike Stone explained that with holiday gift-giving, risks associated with problem gambling behavior tended to increase. Children could be exposed to gambling risks through various means including playing card games or through lottery tickets.
Stone added that, according to evidence, the earlier an individual was exposed to gambling in their life, the greater the risks of developing gambling addiction became.
The Executive Director of the KCPG underlined the importance of raising public awareness of problem gambling. Kentucky-based players and sports betting aficionados can reach out for help by calling 1-800-426-2537 or visiting KYgamblinghelp.org.
Four Rivers Behavioral Services Clinician Shares Insight into Gambling Disorders
Brittany Heisner, a clinician with Four Rivers Behavioral Health, based in Paducah KY, shared insight into gambling addiction issues, especially during the holiday season. Heisner noted that she approached her patients through various treatment techniques including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
She commented that gambling addictions were not always necessarily associated with financial difficulties. They might be the cause of social isolation which could worsen the problem even more. Therefore, the professionals at the addiction treatment facility encouraged their patients to reach out for help whenever they needed it, especially during the holiday season when vulnerability to gambling could be increased.