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Over 100 million American adults have at least some interest in sports betting, and of those about five percent struggle as problem gamblers, a downside to an otherwise thriving new US legal sports betting industry that some of the major players are in the process of addressing.
Last week, six of the largest online gaming operators in the US— Bally’s, BetMGM, DraftKings, Entain, FanDuel, and MGM Resorts International — came together to agree to the first industry-led responsible gambling standards in the country.
These new standards are essentially 12 principles that are derived from four core attributes:
It’s a proactive move that coincides with this month’s designation as Responsible Gaming Education Month by the American Gaming Association.
As we covered recently in What Sports Betting Companies Should Be Doing to Protect their Customers, legal sportsbooks are now seen to have an obligation to protect their bettors, so it makes sense that the biggest operators want to be seen as doing their part.
This coalition of US operators have agreed to take “a shared responsibility approach to addressing problem gaming” and to make a commitment “to working with policy makers, academic experts and researchers, problem gaming treatment organizations, advocacy groups and partners.”
Robeson Reeves, President of Interactive at Bally’s Corporation, is all-in, saying:
We are committed to the 12-point pledge and it’s Bally’s and the industry’s responsibility to prevent underage gaming and provide education and safeguards.
Martin Lycka, a Senior Vice-president at Entain, the company that initially brought this alliance together, understands that sportsbooks must help battle problem gambling, saying:
These principles mark an important milestone, and I am delighted other leading operators have joined us in this commitment to responsible gaming in the rapidly growing USmarkets, as responsibility sits at the heart of our business.
There are also ways that problem gamblers can help themselves.
Over thirty US states and Washington DC have already taken advantage of their right to legalize, regulate, and tax a sports betting market for their residents, all made possible once the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018 and gave that choice to the individual states.
Since then, the major pushback to most of these new markets has been from those lawmakers, community leaders, and voters who are concerned that creating such an industry would give those struggling with problem gambling too many ways to spiral downwards.
As we reported in the past in How to Gamble Responsibly, According to the Experts, there are ways for those who think they might be struggling with an addiction to gambling to determine if their situation requires attention including free Responsible Gambling Quizzes available online.
It also helps to understand the odds and the house edge of your bets, to be clear on your own risk tolerance, to never borrow money to gamble, to be sure to balance gambling with other activities, and to learn how to lose.
Kudos to this new Coalition of Responsible Gaming Operators for vowing to help keep problem gambling to a minimum by making an official commitment to this 12-point pledge and the principles of responsible online gaming, a potential industry benchmark for others to follow.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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