DraftKings commits to multi-year problem gambling funding

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DraftKings Inc has revealed details of a multi-year financial commitment to assist state councils nationwide with funding to support the work of local non-profit organizations. The program begins this month for a three-year trial period.

As part of the new initiative, entitled The State Council Funding Program, DraftKings has offered each state council $15,000 per year for three years, a total overall commitment of $1.58m over the span of the three-year program. 

The program may be used at the broad discretion of each council to bolster services and programs for individuals, families and council staff. Funds can also be applied to training, conferences, helplines and general capacity building. 

A state council may also use the funding to explore the potential for capacity building within neighboring states without a council presence. 

Christine Thurmond, Director, Responsible Gaming, explained: “Having spent several years of my career working with the state council in my home state, Massachusetts, I have seen first-hand how these organizations are a tremendous resource for individuals and families, and serve as a critical stakeholder and partner for gaming operators. 

“DraftKings is committed to advancing responsible gaming in collaboration with state councils across the US. Our hope is that this funding will give councils that extra support needed to fund priority areas, expand services, or hire additional staff; whatever is most needed, we want to help financially.”

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), whose membership includes the 35 State Affiliate Councils, welcomed the development. He said: “State councils provide a first line of defense for addressing the needs of people impacted by problem gambling. 

“While it’s well established that these organizations provide critical assistance in the community, they don’t always have the resources and funds to take treatment and prevention to the next level. This significant initiative by DraftKings shows their commitment to and knowledge of the importance of the work state councils provide.”

The State Council Funding Program announcement comes after an active year for responsible gaming initiatives at DraftKings. In 2021, the company devoted significant financial resources and deployed its responsible gaming staff to spearhead several initiatives.

Among them was an agreement with the Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction, Harvard Medical School to pioneer a systems-based approach to employee training in responsible gaming.

The firm has also made multiple financial commitments to support evidence-based research, including one to the International Center for Responsible Gaming for a three-year study to assess the risk and prevalence of problem gambling.