Problem gaming calls in Connecticut up 203% after legalisation of sports betting
Calls to Connecticut’s problem-gambling hotline in the last six months were up 203 per cent following the official launch of online sports betting and gambling in the state.
US.- The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling has reported that calls to its helpline have risen by 203 per cent in the last six months, following the launch of legal online sports betting and igaming in the state on October 12. The council had to hire two additional workers in February and March to handle the increased number of calls.
Diana Goode, the council’s executive director, told CT Insider: “I kind of was blindsided by that because normally it takes a little while for problem gamblers to hit rock bottom and to think that they have a problem.”
“We don’t have the resources to keep up with this, especially nights and weekends,” Goode said. “Everybody’s getting burned out.” After hiring two additional workers, now the staff is made up of five people.
Goode also added that the group has received a number of “nuisance” calls from people seeking help for issues other than a gambling addiction, such as those complaining about being unable to log into their accounts.
Excluding nuisance calls, the number of people seeking help with addiction is up 126 per cent over the prior six-month period, according to statistics provided by the council.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI), which operates in partnership with the Connecticut Lottery, says its platforms were the first in the US to be accredited by the Toronto-based Responsible Gaming Council.
RSI said: “this spike in calls is customary after market launches as customers are learning the new platforms offered across the jurisdiction, and they are generally receiving more information about how to access problem gambling resources.”
Anika Howard, president of Mashantucket Pequot Interactive, said: “We believe that ultimately, the most effective programs stop problem gambling behaviors before they start. To that end, we are developing a comprehensive plan that covers education, prevention and treatment,”
Since online betting launched in Connecticut, the state has collected an additional $17.5m in revenues from online gaming. Profits for the casinos and sportsbooks from online betting, meanwhile, have topped $105m.
See also: Connecticut online gaming handle reaches $743.8m in February