A coalition of major online sports betting companies has published “industry-led” standards for responsible gaming, a first for a still-growing sector that continues to contend with concerns the expansion of legal wagering could increase gambling addiction.
The operators are now pushing a 12-point pledge, driven by commitments to participate only in legal markets, to cultivate a responsible-gambling culture within their businesses, to treat online gaming as a form of entertainment, and to acknowledge that some individuals need additional support.
The full pledge is below, but the provisions include taking steps to stop underage gambling and supporting a single, nationwide toll-free helpline. The release of the standards also comes during September, which has been named Responsible Gaming Education Month by the American Gaming Association.
"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 U.S. markets, as responsibility sits at the heart of our business,” said Martin Lycka, Entain's senior vice-president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling, in a press release. “It's truly a first for this market and a significant step for addressing problem gaming on a consistent basis."
Here is the full pledge to which the six initial supporters are backing:
“We, the signatories, pledge to observe the following responsible gaming principles across all our online gaming related activities and to encourage all affiliated third parties, including but not be limited to content providers, social media influencers, social media accounts and brand ambassadors, to also adhere to these principles:
- We take active steps to prevent underage and excluded individuals from participating in any form of gaming within our products;
- We help patrons make informed choices about their gaming. We provide easy to read information about how to play, provide responsible gaming tools including information on how to access and use such tools; and provide other related information, including information about a toll-free helpline, as well as resources for those who are seeking support related to their gaming;
- We support the adoption and effective promotion of a unified nationwide responsible gaming toll-free helpline;
- We abide by applicable standards of socially responsible advertising, including compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and standards, and we avoid using minors in marketing content. We only use actors and company representatives in advertising and social media relating to gaming who reasonably appear to be above the legal age to gamble;
- We provide our customers with tools to play responsibly, including but not to limited to self-exclusion tools, financial and other account limits as well as customer betting histories;
- We abide by all self-exclusion rules and regulations, and provide resources to individuals who make the choice to self-exclude;
- We encourage patrons to set a budget that they can afford to and never play beyond their means, and not view gaming as a means to financial success;
- We encourage patrons to set time and financial limits on their gaming and stick to them, not to chase losses;
- We believe in a shared responsibility approach to addressing problem gaming and are committed to working with policy makers, academic experts and researchers, problem gaming treatment organizations, advocacy groups, and our partners as well as with our customers to promote responsible gaming and address problem gaming.
- We support funding for evidence-based problem and responsible gaming research.
- We provide all applicable employees with responsible gaming training upon hire and regularly thereafter, in order to embed responsible gaming culture in our businesses.
- We are committed to evaluating and continuously monitoring our respective responsible gaming programs and initiatives."