The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has launched a new voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) scheme for sports betting ahead of the launch of the state’s legal wagering market.
Massachusetts is due to open its regulated sports betting market today (January 31), with the self-exclusion initiative allowing people to opt out of betting with licensed online and land-based operators in the state.
Consumers wishing to register for the scheme can do so via GameSense either over the phone, online or at land-based GameSense centers within Massachusetts.
The MGC intends to launch retail sports betting at category 1 licensees today, with online and mobile wagering scheduled to follow in March.
The new program will run alongside an existing land-based casino VSE, which launched in the state in 2015 and currently has 1,329 individuals enrolled. Those on the casino VSE list will remain so and will continue to be excluded from casino floors including the soon-to-open sportsbooks.
“VSE programs are proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gambling to manage their own play,” MGC chair Cathy Judd-Stein said. “In light of research we have at our disposal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a range of other resources to help gamblers in the Commonwealth.”
Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health chief executive Marlene Warner added: “Massachusetts has provided innovation and leadership in the realms of problem and responsible gambling.
“This early and comprehensive approach to VSE continues in that tradition. We hope that anyone in need of a conversation and some help with minimizing the impact gambling has on their life will consider this evidence-based program.”
A number of operators have secured licenses ahead of this launch date including sports apparel giant Fanatics, which holds a category 3 sports betting operator license that is tethered to Plainridge Park Casino’s Category 1 sports wagering license.
It was also announced last month that Bruce Band was appointed to lead the MGC’s new sports wagering division.
Band oversee the new division and coordinate with other divisions within the MGC including research and responsible gaming, IT, legal, and the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.
Band has worked in the gambling industry for over 40 years and has served as assistant director of the MGC investigations and Enforcement Bureau and Gaming Agents Division chief since 2014.