March Madness: State leaders, lawmakers call for sports-betting companies to act responsibly ahead of NCAA title games

This especially pertains to the safety of Connecticut fans looking to place bets, as women’s and men’s teams from UConn, Sacred Heart, Yale and Fairfield University will all compete for NCAA titles.

Angelica Toruno and Robyn Karashik

Mar 18, 2024, 12:14 PM

Updated 32 days ago

Share:

State lawmakers and local leaders are teaming up to urge sports betting companies to act responsibly ahead of March Madness.
This especially pertains to the safety of Connecticut fans looking to place bets, as women’s and men’s teams from UConn, Sacred Heart, Yale and Fairfield University will all compete for NCAA titles.
"It's a problem that's quite serious…it's very serious and could be devastating,” said Melodie Keen, a clinical manager with the Better Choice Problem Gambling Program.
March also happens to be Problem Gambling Awareness month. The National Council on Problem Gambling reported that 2-3% of the U.S. population have a gambling addiction.
“What started as a harmless pastime became an all-consuming obsession,” said Scott Meyer, a peer recovery coach with CT Renaissance.
Meyer is a gambling addict who has been in sustained recovery for 10 ½ years. His own success story is a testament that there is hope in beating gambling addiction, which is why he wants to see more funding to help those most vulnerable.
"We must continue to break down the barriers, the barriers to treatment eradicate the stigma,” said Meyer.
“A lot of betting goes on during this period of time. Last year it was $15.5 billion,” said Keen.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal was in Norwalk on Monday morning asking sports betting companies to help problem gamblers halt addiction instead of encouraging them through ads and promotions.
Blumenthal highlighted his Gambling Addiction Recovery and Investment and Treatment Act during Monday’s visit. The bill would set aside federal dollars to treat and research gambling addiction.
"Instead of trying to entice them to do more gambling, the gambling companies ought to give them the means to stop; like self-exclusion...now treatment is so important,” said Blumenthal.
It would take half the federal dollars collected as a tax on sports betting to fund the proper resources.
For more information or resources on sports betting and gambling, you can contact the Connecticut Council on Problem Gaming 24/7 confidential Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-789-7777 or visit their website.


More from News 12