When D.C. lawmakers legalized sports betting in late 2018, they believed plenty of revenue for city coffers would follow. But some also worried that gambling problems wouldn’t be far behind. So a deal was struck: the first $200,000 of yearly revenue from sports betting would be set aside “to prevent, treat, and research gambling addiction.”
In the years since, $800,000 has been earmarked for that purpose — but none of it has been spent. And now Mayor Muriel Bowser is proposing doing away with the requirement that any of the revenue from sports betting be dedicated to addressing gambling addiction.
Her decision — which comes during National Problem Gambling Awareness Month — has shocked experts who say that it’s every government’s duty to address what could be an explosion of gambling-related problems from the rapid expansion of sports betting.