The very first graduation ceremony for participants at Gambling Treatment Diversion Court (GTDC) in Nevada took place last week.

Diversion court program helps gamers who have turned to crime

Created in 2018, the GTDC has enabled eligible persons convicted of crimes committed because of or as a result of a gambling problem to participate in a comprehensive treatment program. The program is supervised by the court and aims to help people with gambling problems.

To join the program, people who have been convicted of a problem gambling crime are subject to a examination by a qualified mental health professional. In this perspective, suspects who have committed a crime against a child, a violent crime or a sexual offense cannot participate in the program.

The treatment program lasts between 12 to 36 months. During this time, individuals participate in problem gambling counseling. In addition, they may be required to undergo mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, drug and alcohol testing.

Although the treatment costs are covered by insurance or state grant funds, participants are required to pay a $ 1,500 administrative fees. In addition, participants must commit to restitution as a condition of processing. Currently, the program has only 11 participants, which is significantly lower than other diversion programs such as those for mental health or addiction.

Despite the pandemic, program participants succeeded

In a statement released by the GDTC Eighth Judicial District last week, Judge Linda Marie Bell congratulated the first graduates of the program. She pointed out that the participants were very successful despite the difficulties brought by the pandemic. In addition, Bell noted that the program “is a great cause of hope for the many people in our community who struggle with problem gambling.”

Congratulations to our first graduates from Gambling Treatment Diversion Court.

Judge Linda Marie Bell

According to a report published by the Las Vegas Review, three people graduated from the program last week. Two of them attended the ceremony in person.

Although currently the GTDC program is unique in the United States, other states are considering similar programs. A new bill was introduced this summer in New Jersey, which aims to help problem gamers who have turned to crime. Presented by Deputy Ralph Caputo, the bill follows in the footsteps of Nevada, which has already found a way to combat this problem. The bill proposed the creation of three locations in the state which helping non-violent offenders with problem gambling. Similar to the GTDC program, eligible offenders would undergo counseling and treatment in conjunction with the court.



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