The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently convened a meeting with the state’s sports betting operators, led by its Sports Wagering Division. They discussed the sports betting sector’s Q3 2023 quarterly reports. Notably, operators like DraftKings and PENN Entertainment (associated with ESPN BET) highlighted the limited use of their responsible gambling (RG) tools by players.
Alarmed by the low usage rates of RG features such as betting time and deposit limits, the commission plans to organize a roundtable with industry leaders and experts. Their goal is to address this concern and explore ways to enhance the adoption and effectiveness of RG tools.
98% of Massachusetts Bettors Avoid RG Tools
Analysis of the quarterly reports from eight MA online sports betting operators revealed a concerning trend: a significant lack of RG tool usage. Operators are required to provide tools enabling bettors to set limits on their betting frequency and amount, and offer a “cool off” period for players to self-impose a break.
DraftKings, Massachusetts’ leading mobile betting platform, reported the following data:
- Only less than 0.1% of bettors utilized the time limit feature.
- 2.3% set deposit limits.
- A mere 0.13% restricted their betting amounts within specific periods.
- 0.4% established a maximum bet limit.
- 1.4% opted for the “cool off” tool.
Cathy Judd-Stein, MGC chairwoman, emphasized the importance of these RG tools, expressing concern over their underuse. Similar trends were observed in PENN’s report, with only 0.5% of accounts using the time-out feature and 2.3% using at least one RG tool.
MGC’s Initiative to Spark Crucial Dialogue in the Gambling Community
Judd-Stein views these findings as an opportunity for the MGC to initiate a critical dialogue among gambling stakeholders, including operators and RG experts. Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) acknowledges the need for collaboration with industry leaders to establish a unified policy for responsible gambling protections.
Whyte, in his conversation with Sweepscasinosusa, stressed the importance of prioritizing players’ interests over power dynamics. He highlighted the prevalent shame and stigma surrounding gambling addiction.
Echoing these sentiments, Mark Vander Linden, MGC’s director of research and responsible gaming, suggested the need to destigmatize responsible gaming. He pointed out the potential in the variety of tools offered through GameSense and declared this issue a top priority for the commission.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s focus on responsible gambling highlights a crucial concern in the sports betting industry. With the low usage of RG tools among players, the commission’s initiative for a roundtable discussion reflects a proactive step towards promoting safer gambling practices and addressing the stigma associated with gambling addiction. This approach signifies a commitment to not only regulate but also support and protect the betting community.