U.S. Lawmakers Approve Resolution On Problem Gambling Standards

July 17, 2023
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A committee of state lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution on responsible gaming and problem gambling on Friday, in an effort to bring more attention to both subjects as legislators consider developing more robust standards.

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A committee of state lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution on responsible gaming and problem gambling on Friday (July 14), in an effort to bring more attention to both subjects as legislators consider developing more robust standards.

The Committee on Responsible Gaming of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) approved the resolution during the NCLGS summer meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The resolution has 16 provisions aimed at assisting states in addressing problem and responsible gambling through a combination of prevention, public awareness, treatment, research and adequate funding.

Indiana Republican state Senator Jon Ford, who serves as president of the NCLGS, made it clear the resolution will serve as a model for state legislation, although the standards, which are designed to bring more attention to the issues of problem and responsible gambling, are non-binding.

Among the provisions, the NCLGS has encouraged cross-jurisdictional and multi-state collaboration to develop evidence-based responsible gaming and problem gambling research, policies and services.

As more states consider legalizing sports betting or online casino gaming, the resolution also recommends the establishment of responsible and problem gambling regulations for all forms of gaming, tailored as necessary to each form but consistent with a state’s policy goals.

The NCLGS also suggests that states and gaming operators coordinate gambling exclusion lists to prevent people with gambling problems and others on exclusion lists from playing in other states.

Another provision calls for responsible gaming and problem gambling policies and insurance coverage for all employees of licensed operators. In addition, there are calls for the development of state or jurisdictional advertising guidelines to ensure marketing is only targeted to those who are legally able to gamble.

State regulations should make sure sports-betting marketing does not “offer content, themes, and promotions that have special appeals to those consumers most at risk for gambling problems, and to ensure there are programs that audit and monitor the content of third-party marketing affiliates”, according to the guidelines.

“We urge all states that offer gaming to consider the guidance offered in this historic resolution,” said Connecticut Republican Representative Christie Carpino, who also serves as NCLGS vice president.

The NCLGS resolution also called for one accredited national problem gambling helpline number to serve all states, as well as highlighting that there is “little standardization on the amount of funding required … and how those funds are to be derived or spent in each jurisdiction for responsible gaming and problem gambling services or programs.”

Brianne Doura-Schawohl, founder and CEO of Doura-Schawohl Consulting that specializes in problem gambling and responsible gambling policy, supported the NCLGS’ efforts but stressed that state funding still does not meet the needs for treatment or prevention.

“[The] research is very clear, any time you introduce a new form of gaming, you simultaneously increase the amount of problems,” she said. “The social and economic costs on society for leaving this untreated and underfunded is significant.”

Regarding online casino gaming, Doura-Schawohl noted that recent figures released by Kindred Group show that legalizing iGaming does come with increased risk and that harm rates are higher compared with sports wagering.

“We need to look at the products,” Doura-Schawohl told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an interview on Thursday between panel discussions at the NCLGS conference, which concluded on Saturday.

“What kind of friction do we need to employ within the products to minimize the harm?” Doura-Schawohl said. “We need to look at the existing problem gambling infrastructure. Is there sufficient funding? Are there sufficient programs?”

She also urged state lawmakers to ask if they have programs that deal with prevention, research and treatment, including outpatient and inpatient treatment and recovery.

“When you look at some of the bills that are still being run by the industry, there were still very little accounts for problem and responsible gambling,” Doura-Schawohl said.

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