Budget conference: Legislature fully funds gambling addiction program for first time

Poker Chips with roulette, gambling games concept.
Since the program’s inception in 2005, lawmakers have diverted 37.5% of its funding back into the state’s general fund.

You can bet that more compulsive gamblers in Florida will get the help they need this year, thanks to an unprecedented move during the Legislature’s budgeting process.

For the first time, lawmakers approved infusing the Florida Compulsive and Addictive Gambling Prevention Program with $2 million, the full sum the state collects from eight slot-licensed pari-mutuels yearly.

The funds were always meant to go to the program. But ever since its creation in 2005, the program has never received more than $1.25 million. Lawmakers repeatedly diverted the remainder into the state’s general fund.

Not this year. The recent launch of Seminole Hard Rock Casino’s sports betting operations have led to a 100% surge in gambling addiction calls, according to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG). Accordingly, the Legislature reversed its planned sweep of $750,000 from the collected funds and allowed all of it to go to the program.

“Thank you to Appropriation Chairs, Sen. (Doug) Broxson and Rep. (Tom) Leek, and the entire Florida Legislature for acknowledging the tremendous need and your historic response,” the FCCG said in a Wednesday statement.

Several FCCG programs and services are funded through Florida’s Compulsive and Addictive Gambling Prevention Program. They include, but aren’t limited to, a 24-hour gambling helpline, 888-ADMIT-IT, and related online resources; a Peer Connect Program; legal assistance resources and support; and the Responsible Gambling and Player Protection Program, which helps gambling operations recognize and spread awareness about the problem and train their employees to do the same.

The FCCG also provides population-specific programs, resources and materials designed for specific groups who may be at more risk of experiencing gambling-related problems, such as college students, military members, veterans, seniors, teens and professionals who serve those groups.

Staff Reports

One comment

  • Gamblers anonymous is free

    March 6, 2024 at 12:36 pm

    But wait… they can’t Invest more in educating children….

Comments are closed.


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