Problem gambling taskforce and past studies

Learn about the history of problem gambling and the state of Washington's efforts on the subject.

The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) helps fulfill its mission by:

  • Promoting effective responsible gaming policies in our gambling industry
  • Advocating for effective problem gambling programs and services for people who wish to address their gambling disorder.

WSGC works with the Legislature, tribes, the gambling industry, Washington State Problem Gambling Program, Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling, and problem gambling behavioral health providers to educate ourselves on problem gambling topics and look for effective policies and programs that will benefit the regulated gambling industry and improve the lives of people suffering from gambling disorders.

Problem Gambling Task Force

The state legislature created The Problem Gambling Task Force ( during the 2019 legislative session. The task force is responsible for exploring and addressing challenges and opportunities related to problem gambling in Washington State.

The task force completed a comprehensive review of:

  • Current problem gambling funding
  • Services
  • Programs
  • Policies.

Task force reports

PGTF's Interim Report to the Legislature (Nov 2020)

Problem Gambling Task Force Final Report (PDF, 20.2 MB)

Problem Gambling Task Force Final Report Appendices (PDF, 4.0 MB)

Problem gambling study

In its 2018-19 supplemental operating budget, the Legislature included a provision (Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6032) directing WSGC to contract for a study to:

  • Survey the scope of services available for pathological and problem gamblers and their families
  • Analyze current prevention, treatment and recovery programs and services in our state.

The Legislature required WSGC to submit the results of the study and provide policy recommendations to improve problem gambling services and programs to the Legislature by February 15, 2019.

Why the study is important

This problem gambling study (PDF, 45 MB) is a significant positive step towards better addressing problem gambling in our state. It's important for the state to review current responsible gaming and problem gambling policies. We hope this study’s results and recommendations will allow our state to move forward and update current responsible gaming practices, where needed, and strengthen the state’s commitment to promoting and protecting the public health of those suffering from a gambling disorder.

Who conducted the study

WSGC contracted with researchers from the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Washington State University’s Carson College of Business to conduct the study.

Planning the study

In developing the study, we determined that it would focus on two problem gambling topics—responsible gaming and behavioral health services. Therefore, this study reviews and analyzes current responsible gaming practices among Washington’s gambling industry. It also reviews and analyzes prevention, treatment, and recovery services for pathological and problem gamblers in Washington. This comprehensive approach provides information and guidance for the gambling industry, including gambling regulators, and behavioral health providers while meeting the Legislature’s objective for this study.

Study recommendations

There is a comprehensive set of responsible gaming and problem gambling results and recommendations. Additionally, there are many areas for improvement in responsible gaming practices and problem gambling public health services.

Gambling and Problem Gambling in Washington State (PDF, 1.3 MB)