More than $40K headed to help prevent youth gambling in West Virginia

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT
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MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - More than $40,000 is heading to counties across West Virginia, including Putnam, Clay, Mason, and more, in an effort to educate and prevent kids from gambling.

Shelia Moran, the spokesperson for 1-800-Gambler, said we’re seeing troubling habits among our kids.

“We did a survey last year of about 600 kids in West Virginia, and only 15% said that they had not gambled,” she said.

Bree Ramey, president of the Mason County Family Resource Network, said with this grant money, they can educate their kids about the dangers.

“We started with the little cafes, that are slot machine cafes, and just showing what those look like,” she said. “The other thing we talked about was gaming and how they probably are already doing some form of gambling through gaming. And that’s when we talked about like, the loot boxes or prize boxes.”

Moran and Ramey said some of the education is making kids aware of what is gambling. Other times, it’s telling parents all of the new ways kids are exposed to gambling.

“It seems harmless,” Ramey said. “It’s not really affecting you right now, but if you let it get out of control, it can so easily.

The National Council on Problem Gambling said one in every 50 West Virginians will experience a gambling addiction.