Lawmakers Push To Expand Responsible Gambling Programs In Florida

Written By JR Duren on November 18, 2021

A new bill, HB 405, would expand Florida’s responsible gambling program.

The bill, sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat, is titled “Compulsive and Addictive Gambling and Prevention” and was filed with the House of Representatives on Monday.

“The Legislature recognizes the potential for persons participating in authorized wagering or gambling activities to develop compulsive and addictive gambling behavior,” the bill reads.

“The purpose of this section is to recognize and mitigate, to the extent possible, the adverse impact of compulsive and addictive gambling behaviors on individuals, families, and communities by raising awareness of such behavior through a prevention program.”

Among other initiatives, the bill would launch a statewide Compulsive and Addictive Gambling Prevention Program (CAGPP). The program would operate under the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC).

Everyone who is concerned about the impact of gambling in Florida should be interested in this bill.

Program will generate more responsible gambling resources

Should the bill pass into law, it would make the CAGPP the “single source provider” of information about compulsive and addictive gambling. Plus, the program would provide referrals for services that help individuals with gambling addiction.

Additionally, the bill calls for:

  • Responsible gambling program
  • Advertising program that promotes Florida’s gambling helpline: (888) ADMIT-IT
  • Creating employee training programs about addictive and compulsive gambling
  • Setting up yearly reporting detailing data such as the number of calls and online contacts the program received

Pari-mutuels and casinos will participate

The bill would require the state’s casinos and pari-mutuels, casinos and card rooms to participate in the CAGPP, which entails:

  • Running employee training programs about compulsive and addictive gambling
  • File with the FBCC a written policy for ensuring that employees go through the proper training
  • Displaying compulsive and addictive gambling awareness signage
  • Promoting the state’s gambling helpline
  • Offering self-exclusion programs that must include two- and five-year periods
  • Providing 0.3% of all funds in the state’s pari-mutuel trust fund to go the CAGPP program

Signs of a gambling addiction

The imminent launch of legalized sports betting in Florida will, among other things, bring problem gambling into focus. According to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, there are several signs that gamblers exhibit that may indicate an addiction.

Those signs include the need to increase betting amounts to gain the desired level of excitement, a preoccupation with gambling, betting more to make up for losses, and risking relationships for gambling.

Those who are struggling with a gambling addiction or compulsion can call 888-236-4848 for 24-hour, confidential help.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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