High schools in Maryland may soon offer something new to its curriculum if SB0243 is passed into law. The new legislation proposed by Senator Bryan Simonaire would direct schools to create a program to teach students about gambling addiction. The goal would be to help students understand the dangers of gambling.
The bill would provide students with insight into the gambling world, helping to ensure that as kids grow older, they fully understand the ramifications associated with gambling. Local school districts would be able to create their own programs or use an existing gambling curriculum when instituting classes.
In speaking with the media, Senator Simonaire said that from a standpoint of government policy, the state is given money from gambling revenues to help with proprieties. However, it also can create a gambling addiction among residents which creates negative issues for the state. one way to tackle this issue is to provide educational opportunities for students so they can see the negative effects of gambling.
The senator has cited several studies in his argument on why high schools need such a curriculum added. Many studies have connected people age 18 to 34 to gambling addiction, calling this group the highest risk of developing an issue.
The risk of addiction is also higher among those who fit into a lower socioeconomic class. The risk is also increased based on the age that an individual starts gambling, particularly in the adolescent years. The state currently raises funds to help treat gambling addiction via the Problem Gambling Fund.
Casinos pay $425 for each slot machine and $500 per table game. With several casinos in operation, this helps to bring in much-needed funds to fight any addiction issues.
Simonaire applauds the fund and does feel it works to help those who are suffering from addiction. However, he feels that the greater focus should be on providing education to young people before they have a chance to become addicted.
By starting early, kids can see the danger and then remember what can happen when they are old enough to gamble. Teaching the kids early on will help them to make smart decisions when they start to play slots and table games.
Simonaire tried to pass a bill last year involving the education program but it was not able to gain enough support. The bill passed almost unanimously within the Senate but did not even get a vote in the House.
The new bill is just an amended version of the 2020 measure. Simonaire has worked with stakeholders to ensure that he has the right information and is ready to tackle the issues. The senator feels he has enough support to see his bill pass into law in 2021.
While he does have support, there are also those who are opposed including Senator Cheryl Kagan. In speaking with Capital News Service, Kagan said that she is opposed to the bill this year too. She feels that the state should not have a role in mandating the requirements for school curriculum.