(1) A program for (a) the prevention and treatment of problem and pathological gambling; and (b) the training of professionals in the identification and treatment of problem and pathological gambling is established within the authority, to be administered by a qualified person who has training and experience in problem gambling or the organization and administration of treatment services for persons suffering from problem gambling. The department of health may license or certify and the authority may contract with treatment facilities for any services provided under the program. The authority shall track program participation and client outcomes.
(2) To receive treatment under subsection (1) of this section, a person must:
(a) Need treatment for problem or pathological gambling, or because of the problem or pathological gambling of a family member, but be unable to afford treatment; and
(b) Be targeted by the authority as being most amenable to treatment.
(3) Treatment under this section is available only to the extent of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the authority for this purpose. The authority may solicit and accept for use any gift of money or property made by will or otherwise, and any grant of money, services, or property from the federal government, any tribal government, the state, or any political subdivision thereof or any private source, and do all things necessary to cooperate with the federal government or any of its agencies or any tribal government in making an application for any grant.
(4) The authority shall establish an advisory committee to assist it in designing, managing, and evaluating the effectiveness of the program established in this section. The advisory committee shall give due consideration in the design and management of the program that persons who hold licenses or contracts issued by the gambling commission, horse racing commission, and lottery commission are not excluded from, or discouraged from, applying to participate in the program. The committee shall include, at a minimum, persons knowledgeable in the field of problem and pathological gambling and persons representing tribal gambling, privately owned nontribal gambling, and the state lottery.
(5) For purposes of this section, "pathological gambling" is a mental disorder characterized by loss of control over gambling, progression in preoccupation with gambling and in obtaining money to gamble, and continuation of gambling despite adverse consequences. "Problem gambling" is an earlier stage of pathological gambling which compromises, disrupts, or damages family or personal relationships or vocational pursuits.
Findings—Intent—2005 c 369: "(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) The costs to society of problem and pathological gambling include family disintegration, criminal activity, and financial insolvencies;
(b) Problem and pathological gamblers suffer a higher incidence of addictive disorders such as alcohol and substance abuse;
(c) Residents of Washington have the opportunity to participate in a variety of legal gambling activities operated by the state, by federally recognized tribes, and by private businesses and nonprofit organizations; and
(d) A 1999 study found that five percent of adult Washington residents and eight percent of adolescents could be classified as problem gamblers during their lifetimes, and that more than one percent of adults have been afflicted with pathological gambling.
(2) The legislature intends to provide long-term, dedicated funding for public awareness and education regarding problem and pathological gambling, training in its identification and treatment, and treatment services for problem and pathological gamblers and, as clinically appropriate, members of their families." [ 2005 c 369 § 1