The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in the US has named Patrick Willard as its new director of policy and advocacy.
In his new role, Willard will collaborate with policymakers on measures to address problem gambling and responsible gambling in state and federal laws.
Willard will also work with affiliates and NCPG members to better advocate for resources to treat gambling addiction in the US and address all types of problem gambling-related issues.
He joins the organisation after a spell as senior director for state and national strategic partnerships at Families USA, where he oversaw work with state and national advocacy partners.
Prior to this, he worked for AARP in Tennessee and in the National Headquarters in Washington DC, where his main responsibilities included helping direct the organisation’s state offices in support of Medicaid expansion efforts and initiatives to assist family caregivers.
“The rapidly expanding landscape of sports betting and other gambling activities across the nation increases the need for strong responsible gambling measures being put into place and for the critical supports to address the millions of families dealing with problem gambling,” Willard said.
“I’m also looking forward to working with counsellors, health care professionals, and other affected parties to make sure the tools are in place to deal with what has, for too long, been an often-ignored mental health issue.”
NCPG executive director Keith Whyte added: “America is experiencing an unprecedented expansion of gambling that must be complemented by the adoption of robust responsible gambling programs and treatment for problem gambling at the state and federal level.
“Patrick, who has a wealth of experience in politics and health care, will be spearheading those important efforts for the NCPG. We’re excited he is joining our team.”
The appointment comes after the NCPG last week announced Elys Game Technology, the online gambling operator and supplier previously known as Newgioco Group, as its latest member.