Massachusetts has cut funding for anti-problem gambling programs by US$250k, leaving said efforts with a US$1.25 million budget.
US.- Massachusetts is getting ready to open two new casinos and concerns have arised among problem gamblers as the state has cut funding for assistance programs by US$250k. The state budget for anti-compulsive gambling is now set at US$1.25 million as it has been cut for a second consecutive year.
Executive director for the Council of Compulsive Gaming Marlene Warner explained that the state budget, which has just been passed by the Legislature, cuts funding from US$1.5 million to US$1.25 million. Furthermore, the budget had already been cut by US$500k last December.
Warner explained that the new cut will “reduce efforts to provide help for problem gamblers, including outreach programs,” The Sun Chronicle quoted. She said that the council has been trying to “keep up with the times” by offering help to gamblers through new communication platforms but those efforts “will have to be reduced.”
“These cuts to problem gambling services couldn’t come at a worse time, particularly as online gambling is expanding, we anticipate new casinos opening in the coming year, and the Lottery had another record year,” she said.
Plainridge Park Casino is the only operating venue at the time but larger casinos are under construction in Springfield and Everett, and the amount of legal gambling in the state is set to greatly increase once they open.
“The funding cuts will be devastating to our work treating those suffering from addiction and preventing problem gambling in the first place,” Warner explained and commented that “the only hope” for the program is that Gov. Charlie Baker will restore the funding.