With no signs that it’s a significant problem in the area, Park County commissioners turned down tens of thousands of dollars offered by the Wyoming Department of Health to address problem …
With no signs that it’s a significant problem in the area, Park County commissioners turned down tens of thousands of dollars offered by the Wyoming Department of Health to address problem gambling.
On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously and without discussion to decline as much as $32,141.30 in state funds.
“The gambling thing just did not appear — to our knowledge or the people that we checked with — to be an issue in Park County,” Commission Chair Dossie Overfield explained after the vote.
Wyoming lawmakers legalized online sports betting in 2021, requiring operators to pay 10% of their revenues to the state. The first $300,000 the state collects each year is given to the Department of Health, which forwards the money to county health programs to “prevent and treat problematic gambling behavior.”
As a department webpage explains, “Problem gambling is characterized by the inability to resist the impulse to gamble, even when there are negative consequences,” the page says.
Yale Medicine says gambling disorder affects about 1% of Americans. Extreme cases can bring about financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide, the Wyoming Department of Health says.
The state funding to address the issue is divided up based on each county’s adult population. The dollars recently offered to Park County reflected its share of the $600,000 pot for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
However, after checking with attorneys and health providers in Park County, “we don’t believe we need those funds at this point,” Overfield said.
She noted the county does make use of multiple other grants from the Department of Health, including to fund the efforts of Healthy Park County.
For more information about problem gambling, visit tinyurl.com/2b7tvdas.