OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — As sports betting continues to find its place in Kentucky, the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling is working to increase resources available to the community.
“Our goal is for promotion of prevention, education, treatment and recovery,” said Dr. RonSonlynn Clark, the president of KYGPG.
it’s been almost 2 weeks, since sports gambling was leagalized in the Kentucky has almost 2 weeks under its belt – since sports gambling was legalized in the Commonwealth.
The Kentucky Council of Gambling is asking those who participate to enjoy, but be mindful of their habits.
Officials predict the new legislation will result in an increased need for gambling counselors.
The president of the non-profit says she is one of only 10 certified gambling trainers in the world, and the only in Western Kentucky.
“Counselors to meet the need is extremely limited [in Kentucky]. Right now, there are only 5 counselors across the state that are certified to treat gambling,” said Dr. Clark.
Mark Kaelin is a recovering compulsive gambler and says he’s aware it’s not going away and people enjoy the pastime.
“It is entertainment. I’m not against the casinos at all, but I am a proponent for the individuals that do have a problem or that are compulsive gamblers, that they have some avenues to get some help,” said Kaelin.
KYCPG describes themselves as gambling neutral, but says they are an available resource to help people air on the side of responsible gambling.
“[Responsible gambling] doesn’t take money from your rent, or your mortgage, or your groceries or things you need to buy. [It doesn’t take] things from your kids or your clothing,” said Dr. Clark.
Still, leaders say what’s deemed as responsible can vary.
“I had a lady one time that had a great deal of trouble paying off her gambling debt, which was right around $1000. For many people that can be paid off pretty easily. But with her limited income it was difficult to pay that off,” said Dr. Clark.
Kaelin is 7 years into his recovery journey and is sharing his experiences to bring awareness to the need for programs. He also wants those who are battling to know they’re not alone.
“We’re gonna have to figure out what we’re gonna do for the rehabilitation, because right now you have to determine on your own that you have a gambling problem. Then once I did figure it out…that I had it, I lived in it for a long time,” said Kaelin.
Sept. 7 marked the first day wagers were available at physical locations. Online bets placed in the state will be allowed beginning on Sept. 28.