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North Carolina Crime Rates May Go Up Following Expansion of Gambling Market

North Carolina gambling market As North Carolina prepares for the official launch of the online sports betting market on March 11, 2024, gambling experts warn about a potential spike in crimes. Along with the positives of a regulated gambling market, such as a growth of tax revenue, the state may have to tackle an increase in the number of gambling-related crimes.

A new research center, established at East Carolina University, has been tasked to explore the trends associated with the expanded gaming opportunities in the state. Dr. Michelle Malkin, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, heads the Gambling Research and Policy Initiative (GRPI), funded by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The initial financing for the initiative amounts to $750,000, with further state funding expected every year.

As reported by Queen City News, Dr. Malkin explained that people in the grip of addiction are more susceptible to committing crimes to either get out of debt or ensure funding to keep on gambling. She further noted that the issues problem gamblers struggle with do not affect just their financial well-being but also their social, professional, and personal lives. Trapped in a vicious circle of gambling, leading inexorably to more gambling, addicts lose control over all aspects of their lives, as Dr. Malkin described.

The GRPI Research Indicates Nearly 50% of Gambling Addicts Will Commit Crime

Dr. Michelle Malkin The GRPI research data suggests that approximately 20% of problem gamblers would attempt suicide, and nearly 50% would commit a crime.

Many gambling addiction experts have been calling for the establishment of a statewide gambling diversion court, where gambling addicts would be sentenced to treatment, instead of imprisonment. Dr. Malkin further noted that people with other types of addictions have access to such treatment facilities.

The assistant professor also said that better awareness and outreach are essential to the prevention of gambling-motivated crimes. Instead of just popularizing gambling hotlines where people can reach out for help, experts should clearly identify the signs of gambling addiction. Thus, people would be better equipped to discern the symptoms and risk factors. Getting professional help and resources early on is of essential importance to deal with the problem before it extends into compulsive gambling, the expert explained.

Just days ahead of the launch of the online sports betting market in the state, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission licensed the first seven companies, including Betfair Interactive US, LLC, BETMGM, LLC., and Underdog Sports Wagering LLC, among others.

Ripley Rand, Chair of the Lottery Commission commented on the upcoming launch of the market and the issuing of the first licenses, underlining that they represent “a major milestone in establishing legal sports betting in North Carolina.”

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.