What Sports Betting Companies Should Be Doing to Protect their Customers

  • Sportsbooks are Now Seen to Have an Obligation to Protect Their Bettors
  • Sports Betting Companies Use “Markers of Protection” to Counter Problem Gambling
  • Operators Should Consistently Reevaluate Regulatory Compliance Procedures
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Sportsbooks are Now Seen to Have an Obligation to Protect Their Bettors

While it’s a good idea for modern consumers to approach their purchases with the idea of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) in mind, U.S. companies nowadays are held to higher standards by the government, so most are inclined to prioritize the protection of their customers.

When it comes to legal sports betting now sweeping the U.S., sportsbooks and those who operate them are seen to have a moral obligation to protect the bettors who use their services in order to prevent a wave of problem gambling that could financially cripple certain bettors.

According to Martin Lycka, Senior VP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling for Entain, one of the largest online gaming companies in the world, that commitment to safe and healthy gambling is best implemented by these sportsbooks for two major reasons:

Sports betting companies bear the greatest responsibility for protecting gamblers—not only because they manage the products that people use to gamble, but because they are the most capable of enacting changes that can reduce the threat of problem gambling.

This protection can be accomplished by using technologies that are now available to track and restrict problematic gambling behavior.

Sports Betting Companies Use “Markers of Protection” to Counter Problem Gambling

Most gamblers bet responsibly by setting financial limits on their action, but some in the minority have trouble disciplining their gambling and that creates a moral black hole in the industry.

The website ResponsiblePlay asserts that “nationally between 1% and 3% of the general adult (18+) population, or over 5.1 million people, experience a gambling problem every year,” and that also negatively affects their families, friends, and workplace as the problem spreads.

To minimize that damage, legal and regulated sportsbooks have made it their priority to use so-called ‘markers of protection,’ and Entain’s SVP Lycka describes these built-in tactics this way:

Operators are able to collect a range of data points that point to addictive gambling behavior, often referred to as “markers of protection,” and these must be incorporated into their compliance and safety measures.

Sportsbooks can also mitigate that trend by prioritizing a reevaluation of their compliance procedures.

Sportsbooks Should Consistently Reevaluate Regulatory Compliance Procedures

Though problem gambling cannot be prevented entirely, Entain’s SVP Lycka is convinced it can be relatively minimized if sportsbooks choose to make it their ongoing responsibility to shift the way they tackle it, saying:

Gambling operators should consistently reevaluate their regulatory compliance procedures to ensure that they are meeting the changing needs of gamblers. I would also argue that operators should fund responsible gambling initiatives that explore new ways to reach gamblers and those in high-risk groups, like college athletes.

One example of that is called the Oak Out Hunger Tour, which is a nationwide campaign sponsored by Entain Foundation U.S that is led by former NBA star Charles Oakley to educate underserved communities on the importance of responsible gambling.

But in the end, the main responsibility for curbing problem gambling sits on the shoulders of those who place those bets in the first place, so an updated version of that business doctrine might more aptly read ‘caveat melior,’ or “Let the bettor beware,” and gamble accordingly.

Attacked from both sides of the wager, problem gambling can become a manageable downside to launching a legal sports betting market in an area, an issue that requires attention so that it does not become a total deal-breaker.