As the gambling options in Virginia continue to increase, problem gambling advocates are working to increase the resources available to people who may have a gambling problem. The Virginia Lottery is taking a lead role in helping raise awareness about problem gambling and gambling addiction.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has declared March Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Virginia. A proclamation has been issued by the Governor’s Office that recognizes the partnership between the Virginia Lottery and the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VCPG) in helping to raise awareness of problem gambling.
The Lottery and VCPG are also working with Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) in a partnership spurred, in part, by legislation that created the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund. The fund provides ongoing financial support for problem gambling in the Commonwealth. A portion of gambling revenue from regulated gaming entities, such as sports betting and casinos, is directed to the fund, which is administered by DBHDS.
The Virginia Lottery also offers players the option to exclude themselves from gambling activity if they feel they have a problem. For account-based lottery gaming, players can choose to exclude themselves for one, three or six months. In addition, the Lottery administers the Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) which allows individuals to exclude themselves from many forms of gaming in the Commonwealth: sports betting, casinos, account-based lottery and all gaming activities administered by the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Virginia Racing Commission. Through the VEP, individuals can self-exclude for a period of two years, five years or a lifetime.
For the average person who may have questions about problem gambling, the easiest place to start is by calling the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline. The helpline is toll-free, confidential and available 24/7. The number is 1-888-532-3500. You can call, text or chat.