Michigan Senate Bill Proposes Responsible Gambling Education Be Taught In Schools

Written By Drew Ellis on February 10, 2023 - Last Updated on August 22, 2023
Responsible Gambling Education coming to Michigan schools? Senate Bill 54.

This week, bipartisan legislation was introduced to help inform Michigan teenagers about the risks associated with gambling.

Introduced by Sen. Joseph N. Bellino Jr. (R-Monroe), Senate Bill 54 would see responsible gambling education taught in schools.

SB54 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.

SB54 would bring responsible gambling education into Michigan schools

Senate Bill 54 would require the state Department of Education to develop a grade-and-age-appropriate model program of instruction on gambling addiction by July 1, 2024. It would be available to school districts and public-school academies.

“With the popularity of mobile betting apps and online sports betting now being legal in over 30 states, teenagers are having problems with gambling addiction,” said Bellino in a press release. “It has been reported that many young people don’t see gambling as risky and that the percentage of high school students with a gambling problem is double that of adults. My bill has bipartisan support to head off this growing problem by acting to raise awareness among our students about the real risks of gambling.”

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, between 60-80% of high school students say they gambled for money in the past year.

Also, the NCPG says 4-6% of high school students are considered addicted to gambling.

EarthWeb reports that an estimated 6% of American college students battle against gambling problems.

SB54 would see high school students educated on the risks of gambling, similar to their education on the risk of drugs and alcohol use.

“Just as our teachers currently inform students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, we need them to also educate them about the serious consequences of gambling addiction,” Bellino said.

MGCB also pushing for responsible gambling education

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been pushing for responsible gambling to be the fourth “R” added to education along with reading, writing and arithmetic.

Last fall, the MGCB put out a RG campaign, asking for parents, siblings and peers to be aware of the signs of problem gambling in teens. Those are:

  • Carrying gambling materials such as dice, cards or poker chips
  • Gambling with money that is supposed to be used for school-related purposes
  • Skipping class or other school activities to gamble
  • Borrowing, stealing and selling items to get money to gamble

For the 2023 fiscal year, the MGCB sought and received additional funding for responsible gaming programs. That allowed them to expand their resources and increase staff focused on RG.

MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams recently told Michigan Gaming that the board has plans to expand their responsible gaming outreach through a public-facing program that will launch soon.

Some Michigan retail casinos allow 18 year olds to gamble

Currently you have to be at least 21 years old to gamble online in Michigan. That applies to all 15 online operators.

However, many tribal retail casinos have different age requirements, several at 18, which would include high school seniors.

Casinos in Michigan that are age 18 and up:

  • Bay Mills Casino, Brimley
  • Island Resort Casino, Harris
  • Leelanau Sands Casino, Peshawbestown
  • Little River Casino Resort, Manistee
  • Kewadin Casinos, Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace
  • Northern Waters Casino Resort, Watersmeet
  • Ojibwa Casinos, Baraga and Marquette
  • Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, Standish
  • Soaring Eagle Casino Resort, Mount Pleaasant
  • Turtle Creek Casino, Williamsburg

Casinos in Michigan that have a 19-year-old age requirement:

  • Odawa Casino, Petoskey

National ban on sports betting advertising proposed

Online gambling advertising has been a point of contention with the expanded legalization of online sports betting and iGaming across the country.

This week, congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) brought forward federal legislation looking to change that.

The Betting on our Future Act would see a ban on all online and electronic advertising of sports betting. It falls in line with the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which banned tobacco advertisements.

Tonko’s legislation focuses on the risk sports betting ads puts on young adults.

“In the years since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting, these unfettered advertisements have run rampant, with betting companies shelling out billions to ensure they reach every screen across America,” Tonko said in a press release. “These ads pose a particularly dangerous threat to adolescents and young adults unaware of the risks involved in gambling, and to individuals prone to addiction.”

Forbes reported that sports betting advertising reached approximately $1.8 billion in 2022, up 80% from 2021. By 2024, it projects $2.9 billion to be spent in advertising.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayILottery.com. He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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