This is the assessment of the center’s director, Mary Drexler, who cautioned that the expansion of sports betting in Maryland should go hand-in-hand with an emphasis on protecting consumers and making sure they are better educated about the potential dangers that stem from the activity.
Maryland Problem Gambling Center Outlines Numbers and Current Status Quo
Drexler has outlined certain trends, arguing that sports betting has a direct impact on problem gambling, particularly among young people. This is one of the reasons why some jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands and France, for example, have opted for role-model bans.
Drexler did not use that parallel in her own account of the current situation in Maryland, but it would be accurate either way. Based on data collected by the center, the rate of problem gamblers among sports bettors is at the very least twice as high as it is in the general population.
To help broach a wider debate on the issue, the center is currently in the process of collecting and processing data that it will present as part of its six-month evaluation at the end of July. The findings will then be used as the basis of recommendations for lawmakers and the state.
An annual report will be coming up in September, which will allow the center to present a more comprehensive overview of the current rates of problem gambling in the state. Problem gambling funding has been planned for games of chance, but not as much for sports betting.
One suggestion pitched during this legislative session was to make it so that 1% of all state proceeds coming from sports gambling, or around $480,000, should be redistributed to tackle problem gambling, failed to garner sufficient legislative support.
More Money May Be Needed to Address the Issue at Hand
Drexler said that the current funding to the center is around $2 million and $2.4 million annually, out of the state’s problem gambling fund which usually amasses around $5 million in contributions over a year.
However, more money could be needed to help effectively tackle problem gambling and treat people who need assistance. Drexler argues that there are some 400 people at “any given time” who may be seeking help from the hotline set up by the center in order to help. Meanwhile, Maryland is also forging ahead with plans to introduce iGaming, as a report is now examining the potential benefits against the expected negatives.