Colorado Stays Ahead Of Curve On Responsible Gambling With Think Tank, Hiring

Written By T.J. McBride on 04/04/2024
Colorado working to find solutions to problem gambling.

Gaming regulators and stakeholders recently came together at the Colorado State Capitol to discuss responsible gambling.

According to reporting from 9News in Denver, officials from the Colorado Lottery, the Colorado Division of Gaming and other groups met to find ways to better help people who are gambling irresponsibly and ways to continue promoting healthy gaming practices.

Colorado continues to make responsible gaming a priority. The Colorado Lottery recently hired a full-time player health manager to make further strides in responsible play.

Player health manager tasked with developing a cohesive strategy

As sports betting and gambling in general continue to grow in the US, states are working to get ahead of the curve to provide resources to those who struggle with gambling disorders. The Colorado Division of Gaming and the Colorado Lottery are the lead agencies promoting responsible gambling practices in Colorado. They offer several tools for not only problem gamblers but also for their friends and family.

In January, the Colorado Lottery hired Amanda Quintana as the Colorado Lottery player health manager. She worked at the National Council on Problem Gambling before accepting her new role in Colorado.

According to Director of the Colorado Lottery Tom Seaver, Quintana’s experience will help the state keep up with the growing gaming industry.

“I think the most exciting thing for us was we hired a full-time player health manager. It’s always been a part of our organization throughout the different disciplines to focus on responsibility, but now we have a full-time staff person who comes to us from the National Council on Problem Gambling. So, they have an extensive, rich background on what they’re doing. We realized for the Lottery to go to the next step, we needed to have our own in-house professional expert.”

Seaver said Quintana’s job is to develop a cohesive approach involving all the different gambling groups.

“Previously, we had everyone kind of being responsible for their own piece. Now, with a full-time person on board, we can tap into industry experience and other best practices from other lotteries. We can be leaders within our organization to keep all those areas focused on doing their best.

“We are trying to be part of the solution. We recognize we are part of the gambling environment in Colorado, so we want to do our part in making sure people are aware of the resources.”

Colorado using a multi-prong approach to combat problem gambling

Currently, there are no legislative measures being put forward to combat problem gambling. The goal of the meeting at the Capitol was to continue educating lawmakers on the problem of irresponsible gambling, Seaver said.

“We aren’t sponsoring a bill, we don’t have any specific legislation. It’s more about just when problem gambling is discussed, whether it’s something that we bring up or our partners bring up, that they know what we are talking about.”

Director of the Colorado Division of Gaming Chris Schroder has championed responsible gambling since being hired in September. He wasted no time in adding a voluntary self-exclusion program for the state that showed success almost immediately.

“Just in September, we had 100 people register to be on our self-exclusion list. Altogether, we have over 800 on our self-exclusion list. When people sign up for that list, they can make sure they exclude themselves from all forms of gaming, whether that’s the casinos, in person, or online at the sports wagering operators.”

Colorado also has been a strong supporter of the Kindbridge Institute. The company uses research to counteract problem gambling. One venture was putting aside money for the Colorado Athlete Wellbeing Program. It helps young athletes better handle online harassment received from bettors.

Now, Kindbridge is looking to use demographic information to pre-emptively identify risk factors.

Colorado also has a 24-hour confidential helpline for anyone who feels they need help. The helpline is operated by the National Council on Problem Gambling and is available in English and Spanish. The helpline number is (800) 522-4700.

Schroder said he wants to make sure that Coloradans know that regulators are doing everything possible to keep their communities safe.

“I think it is just important that people in Colorado understand that we’re very committed to operating with safety and health in mind.”

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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter with an extensive background in covering the NBA and Denver Nuggets. T.J. is Southern California native who provides news and analysis on the legal gambling industry across a number of Catena Media's regional US sites.

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