Advocates Warn Of Addiction Among Young Adults Who Wager On Sports

Des Moines, Iowa — Representatives of the state’s casinos, grocery stores, restaurants, the Iowa Lottery, and the horse racing industry are all taking a shot at publicly explaining why they should get a slice of the action if the state legalizes betting on pro and college sports. Amy Campbell is a lobbyist for the Iowa Behavioral Health Association, which operates the gambling treatment programs in Iowa. She’s telling legislators the group is opposed to expanding gambling options in Iowa.

Campbell says if betting on college and pro sports is legalized in Iowa, lawmakers should ensure all systems — including smartphone apps — have some sort of lock-out option for addicts who sign up to be barred from making bets. In addition, Campbell says the state should beef up public education efforts.

Keith Miller, a Drake University law professor, is an expert on gambling. He says there’s a clear public health issue here.

If lawmakers do legalize sports betting in Iowa, Miller says it’s important to nail down the exact amount of money dedicated to treatment for gambling addictions, or that money will be redirected to other programs when the economy sours and the state budget shrinks.

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