The American Gaming Association has vowed to ensure that Washington DC “makes good” on problem gambling obligations after slamming the “latest misstep” by local government.

This comes after reports that Mayor Muriel Bowser was seeking to repeal a provision in the region’s taxation of sports wagering that allocated $200,000 to the prevention of treatment of problem gambling.

Since the legalised sports betting marketplace launched in mid-2020, revenue was to be split between early education and violence interruption programs, with the first $200,000 going to the Department of Behavioral Health for problem gambling support.

After Brianne Doura-Schawohl, on behalf of the National Council of Problem Gambling, penned an open letter on the issue, Chris Cylke, AGA Senior Vice President, has also issued a statement addressing the matter. 

“Unfortunately, this is only the latest misstep by the DC government in their effort to offer a viable sports betting market,” he wrote.

“The AGA will work with other stakeholders to ensure the district makes good on their obligation to provide problem gambling resources, as well as continue to highlight the need for a competitive mobile marketplace that will increase revenue to fund these important commitments.”

Last month,  Doura-Schawohl made an appeal to the DC Council Health Committee in a bid to ensure that the DBH “is abiding by the District’s sports betting legislation to spend the money it has received to create programs that help those with a gambling problem”.

However, it was noted that after more than two and a half years of legalised sports betting, none of the proposed $200,000 per year has been devoted to these designated areas,

This is despite Doura-Schawohl also voicing that the “is much less” than what is required, with the NCPG suggesting that a yearly minimum of $1m should be allocated.

She wrote: “As with all forms of gambling, we know that there is a significant portion of the population that has and will continue to experience negative consequences as a result of legalised sports gambling.

“NCPG believes that with proper funding and oversight, the district can take a substantial step in creating a safe and sustainable sports gambling environment for its residents.”