Bill Pascrell, III: How US gambling companies should promote responsible gambling

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New opportunities for gambling are arising every day as new states legalise esports, fixed-odds horse racing, brick-and-mortar casino gaming, online casino gaming and sports betting.

With these opportunities expanding throughout the country, it’s more important than ever that gambling companies educate their new and existing customers on best practices for responsible gambling. Here’s how:

Incorporate data into compliance protocols

Gambling operators ought to utilise technology to track problematic gambling behaviour and restrict those gamblers’ access to their platforms. Gambling companies are able to collect many data points that indicate addictive gambling behaviour, or “markers of protection,” and these must be incorporated into compliance and safety practices.

Fund meaningful responsible gambling initiatives

Operators should fund responsible gambling initiatives that are exploring new ways to reach gamblers and those in high-risk groups, like college athletes.

For example, Entain Foundation US – for which I serve as a trustee – sponsors or partners with a range of responsible gambling organisations. These include:

EPIC Risk Management, which facilitates “lived experience” RG classes across the country.

Kindbridge, an independent virtual clinic that provides mental health services to people suffering difficulties related to gambling and gaming.

The NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, a provider of financial assistance and counselling for former NFL players to create, market, and launch live and virtual educational programmes for NFLPA members.

Support academic research

Academic research must play a central role in addressing problem gambling, ensuring comprehensive self-regulation on the part of gambling companies, and effective gambling regulations.

To that end, Entain Foundation US invested $5m in a multi-year partnership with the Harvard Medical School Faculty at the Division on Addiction, providing Harvard with access to anonymised player data across a range of our brands.

We also partner with the UNLV International Gaming Institute to provide information to legislators and regulators about sports integrity, youth gambling impact, illegal marketplaces and Americans’ perception of gambling.

Education

Education continues to serve as a crucial component of responsible gambling programmes and not just for problem gamblers, but for higher-risk groups like athletes and the economically disadvantaged.

We’ve partnered with Seton Hall Law School to establish an annual multi-day gaming, integrity and compliance educational bootcamp, to ensure that industry professionals are equipped to incorporate responsible gambling into their everyday work.

Further, Entain Foundation US sponsors former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley’s “Oak Out Hunger” community project, which emphasises the importance of responsible gambling to impoverished, underprivileged communities in cities across the US.

The project further promotes Gamble Responsibly America, a mobile app that educates users on safe gambling habits, and Wager Score, a platform that rewards responsible gamblers by converting 1% of every dollar bet into charitable tax-deductible donations for social causes.

Sustainable gambling

The gambling industry, including its thousands of employees throughout the country, cannot hope to continue if it doesn’t adequately address problem gambling in all forms. That’s why I often refer to responsible gambling as “sustainable gambling.”

It’s in the best interests of gambling companies to ensure the industry is properly regulated, that customers are given the proper tools and education to avoid problematic behaviour, and that resources are dedicated to the treatment centres, counsellors and support groups that are on the front lines of combatting problem gambling.

William J. Pascrell III – or BP3 – is a partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group and a trustee for Entain Foundation US, a non-profit dedicated to promoting responsible gambling, sports integrity and corporate compliance in the US.

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