As retail and online gambling continues to expand and become more common across the county, there’s enormous money at hand. But all of that success sometimes comes with a cost. With expanded gambling in Colorado also comes more issues with Colorado problem gambling.
That’s why the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved the very first distribution of funds on Feb. 24. Commission Chair Richard Nathan said via a press release:
“We would be ignoring the obvious if we did not accept that the largely positive experience of gaming in Colorado does not, amongst its participants, have some who are negatively impacted by their participation.
The legislature has recognized, and our Commission prioritized, public education and treatment options, including training certified counselors to help individuals and families. Our actions this month are just the beginning of our efforts to recognize that there is such a thing as problem gaming and to address mitigating its negative impact.”
There are good and bad that come with every decision made and that is an important truth to accept. The gaming commission understands that even with the success of legal Colorado sports betting, the work is not finished. With more gambling comes more gambling addiction and that problem still needs attention.
For Colorado, this new grant dedicated to programs that help fight problem gambling is a productive first step. This first step is the Responsible Gaming Grant. It will include just over $1.5 million in funds dedicated to:
- Problem gambling awareness
- Addiction treatment
- Educational programs
The Responsible Gaming Grant
This distribution of funds via the Responsible Gaming Grant will go towards projects that are, “directly addressing the issue of problem gambling, addiction treatment, educational programs, counseling, research, advocacy efforts, or support services,” as stated in the press release.
In total, the Responsible Gaming Grant will distribute $1,571,965 in awards to projects who meet those criteria. For this year, the commission awarded five projects to three separate organizations that directly address issues surrounding problem gambling.
The goal for this Responsible Gaming Grant is simple. “The act enabled the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission to administer the annual grant program and award grants to eligible applicants from the Responsible Gaming Grant Program Cash Fund.
The responsible gaming grant program is meant to provide meaningful funding and encourage prevention, education on gambling addiction, additional counselors, public awareness, treatment, recovery, data and research in Colorado.”
Three organizations received funding for 2023
The first of three organizations to receive money from the Responsible Gaming Grant in 2023 is the Kindbridge Research Institute. They specialize in, “advanced gambling and gaming telehealth through research and education, “according to their website.
The second organization granted funds is the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health which has been in operation since 1983. They are a non-profit health agency that, “advocate(s) for responsible gaming and gambling practices and services for those affected by gambling,” as per its website.
The final organization to receive funds is the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado. They are an affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling as one of their state advocate programs and services.
Peggy Brown with the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado said via press release:
“The Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado is excited to be a recipient of funding provided by the Responsible Gaming Grants awarded by the Division of Gaming and the Colorado Gaming Commission. We look forward to continued input and support from both the Division and Commission during grant implementation.”
These three organizations received five project awards in total for projects that include:
- Gambling counselor training and certificate programs
- Research on problem gambling in Colorado
- A collegiate awareness program
- Social marketing campaign
- Research on gambling addiction
- The creation of a problem gambling center in Colorado
Once the grant period ends, those who received awards from the Responsible Gaming Grant must present their evaluation findings to the commission to show the funds were productive and served the community.
The future of the Responsible Gaming Grant
For now, funding for the Responsible Gaming Grant exists for just one year. But so long as it positively impacts and addresses problem gambling, it is likely to stay.
That is why, on the Colorado Department of Revenue’s website, there is information on requirements to apply for the Responsible Gaming Grant which includes language for years going forward beyond just 2023. The infrastructure already exists to continue this program for years to come.
Going forward, this Responsible Gaming Grant will distribute this money yearly. Different organizations looking for funding via the Responsible Gaming Grant will have to meet certain requirements. The minimum requirements, as outlined on the Colorado Department of Revenue website, are:
- An indication of whether the grantee achieved the objectives the grantee described in its application or a grant
- Evaluation of the results of the grantee’s grant-funded project
- A description of the impact of the grantee’s use of grant money on the community concerning responsible or problem gambling
- Total amount of the grant money received in the total amount of grant money expended by the grantee
- Any additional reporting requirements required by the commission when the grant was awarded
- Before any grant money is dispersed once the commission has made its grant decisions, grantees must cooperate to finalize all needed state purchasing contract paperwork
Applicants must submit all information to the Colorado Gaming Commission on or before Sept. 1, 2023, to qualify for the Responsible Gaming Grant in 2024. Each year going forward will also have Sept. 1st as the submission deadline.
Grant recipients will also have to designate a representative to attend all necessary Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission meetings.