On Wednesday, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) launched its Agility Grant program. This program will grant money to non-profits that fund problem gambling prevention programs. This is part of NCPG’s effort to promote responsible sports betting.
“Problem gambling prevention providers are historically under-resourced. These Agility Grants will provide support and help build some much-needed momentum towards reducing the long-term personal, social, and economic costs of problem gambling,” Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director, said in a statement. “Funded projects will foster new ideas, elevate new voices, and create new partnerships to strengthen the efficacy of prevention programming. We encourage all eligible organizations to apply.”
As sports betting expands, NCPG has been increasingly active in providing a financial boost to underfunded initiatives. For example, Colorado allocated only $130,000 toward problem gambling programs as part of its sports betting bill. In contrast, Arizona generates about $2 million per year for problem gambling programs. Sporadic state funding has led to a demand for additional funding from non-profit organizations for regional problem gambling issues.
Organizations That Can Apply For Agility Grants
Organizations can apply for Agility Grants under one or both of the program’s strategic funding pillars:
- Prevention Innovation: To foster and accelerate the development, deployment, or research of gambling addiction prevention programs and curricula to address key at-risk and priority populations.
- Amplification: To increase community awareness, response, and support through the identification and elevation of new leaders, partnerships, and voices within the problem gambling community, especially prioritizing youth and leaders of color.
The goal of these programs is to make sports betting and gambling safer for bettors. Money will flow to non-profits that create new programs that address problem gambling. Money will also flow to programs that address problem gambling in underserved communities.
The emphasis on youth leaders is especially important in the social media age. Social media influencers can unwittingly spread misinformation about the ease of winning at sports betting. There is room in the responsible gaming community for counter-programming to overly optimistic social media influencers who include gambling content on their channels.
Sports Betting Responsibly
Problem gamblers often ignore the responsible gaming messaging required from sports betting advertising. For gambling addicts, responsible gaming messaging has long since ceased being effective. So, problem gambling resources are critical for fostering a safe sports betting industry.
Bettors should know what their local problem gambling resources are. These include state gambling addiction counselors and local Gamblers Anonymous chapters. While states often fund state or national helplines, these helplines do little good without local resources.
Non-profits can help fill that gap. But bettors can also call their representatives’ offices to demand greater funding for local problem gambling resources. Not all state citizens will need to take that step. But it’s another avenue for bettors who want to get involved in addressing problem gambling.