NCLGS Approves Resolution On Problem Gambling Standards

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A committee on responsible gambling unanimously approved a resolution on problem gambling on Friday at one of the nation’s largest events on legislative issues germane to the industry.

The committee approved the resolution at The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) 2023 Summer Meeting in Denver. The resolution contains 16 provisions aimed at directing states to address problem and responsible gambling issues through a combination of prevention and harm reduction, public awareness, intervention and treatment, research, and adequate funding, among other mechanisms.

As online gaming continues to expand, there is a need to look at resources for responsible gambling more closely, said Indiana state Sen. Jon Ford, who serves as the president of NCLGS.

As it relates to sports betting, numerous responsible gambling advocates have called on regulators to enact stricter measures on advertising in an effort to curb the proliferation of commercials that target minors.

One provision calls for the development of state or jurisdictional advertising guidelines to ensure that marketing is only targeted to those who are of legal age to gamble. In addition, the provision urges states to pass regulations that ensure sports betting marketing will not offer “content, themes, and promotions that have special appeal” to customers who are most at risk for compulsive gambling issues.

A hot-button topic

Problem gambling and related issues were among the more popular topics at the event being held this week in downtown Denver.

An Austrian data scientist with Neccton, a leading gambling compliance service provider, made the rounds inside the Sheraton Denver Downtown on Thursday. Neccton, a third-party platform for anti-money laundering, fraud detection, and responsible gambling solutions, was acquired by OpenBet last month. The platform identifies predictive markers that tie new customers to elevated risks of compulsive gambling, Dr. Michael Auer of Neccton told Sports Handle.

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Last fall, Light & Wonder completed the sale of OpenBet, its former sports betting division, to Endeavor, a nascent operator run by prominent businessman Ari Emanuel. Howard Glaser, global head of government affairs at Light & Wonder, addressed problem gambling issues Friday on a panel on state and federal relations.

While Glaser, one of the nation’s top proponents of iGaming expansion, conceded that cases of compulsive gambling will likely increase as iGaming proliferates, he argued that online gambling offers “enhanced protections” in comparison with brick-and-mortar casinos. Whereas a bettor can walk into a casino in virtual anonymity, online gamblers are required to submit detailed personal and bank information when opening a digital account, he noted.

Although the resolution will serve as model legislation for state jurisdictions, the standards are non-binding.

The resolution also:

  • Urges the use of education and harm minimization measures and policies involving limit setting and exclusion for marketing, payments, and payment processing (personal credit, credit card, cashless payments, check cashing, bank withdrawals, and ATM patterns/usage).
  • Calls for responsible gambling and problem gambling policies, as well as insurance coverage for all employees of gaming licensees.
  • Emphasizes the need to include access to anonymized player data, research components, and funding for responsible gambling and problem gambling polices to gauge trends and program efficacy and expand evidenced-based best practices.
  • Stresses the need for dedicated funding earmarked for the delivery of the full range of responsible gambling and problem gambling services, including but not limited to prevention, awareness, education, harm reduction, workforce development, outreach, treatment, and research.

The passage of the resolution comes several months after the U.K. Gambling Commission introduced comprehensive standards on advertising and consumer protections in the online gambling space. The release this spring occurred on the same week that a state issued fines to several operators for accepting wagers from self-excluded bettors. The fines, in the estimation of one problem gambling expert, were “laughably low.”

The four-day conference, which features a host of prominent legislators in the gaming space, concludes on Saturday.


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