The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in the US has set out a series of recommendations for sports betting operators seeking partnerships with colleges and other higher education facilities in the country.
Written by the NCPG Prevention Committee, the report looks at how operators, higher learning institutions and state governments can help mitigate against potential problem gambling issues among young adults.
The report states that young adults are especially vulnerable to gambling-related problems, citing a 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) study that found 55% of male student athletes had gambled in the past year.
The same survey showed that among student-athletes who had ever gambled for money, 88% of men and 69% of women had their first betting experience before going to college.
A separate study published in 2019 suggested college student athletes have greater risk for gambling problems than the general college population, due to being highly competitive, experiencing higher rates of anxiety and other mental health issues, and experiencing higher rates of substance use.
As such, the NCPG put forward a host of recommendations for operators, higher education facilities and state governments to consider as part of their forward planning.
In terms of operators, the core focus was to not offer incentives to colleges based on sign ups, registrations, gambling participation, revenue, handle or profits.
Operators should also provide dedicated funds to prevent and treat gambling addiction, as well as offer employee training on responsible gambling and give customers the ability to self-exclude, and set limits on time and money.
The NCPG also told operators to provide data to universities on betting activity and patterns to better inform prevention efforts, as well as take steps to protect gamblers and athletes if wagering on specific players.
Operators are recommended to implement a strict age gate verification in order to check a player’s identity properly, set policies on who is and is not allowed to wager on sports, as well as roll out extensive responsible gambling marketing.
Looking at education facilities, the NCPG said they should not accept incentives, based on sign-ups, registrations, gambling participation, revenue, handle or profits.
Universities should also ensure gambling partners to have in place a responsible gambling policy, as well as provide training to athletic departments and student athletes on responsible gambling, and set out gambling policies in student codes of conduct
Other focus areas included setting standards for sports betting advertising and promotions, provide gambling screening questions on any counselling intake questionnaires and offer gambling treatment services on campus.
Finally, the NCPG said state governments should look to conduct surveys of the prevalence of gambling participation and addiction at regular periods in order to monitor impacts of sports betting.
Governments should also develop comprehensive problem gambling prevention, education, treatment, enforcement, responsible gambling, research and recovery programs for all residents, as well as provide dedicated funds to prevent and treat gambling addiction.
In addition, governments should consider establishing stringent responsible gambling regulations for sports betting operators and vendors.
“The NCPG Prevention Committee’s report is comprised of recommendations that can help limit the number of young adults who could develop signs of gambling addiction as a result of sports betting, which is expanding rapidly across America,” NCPG executive director Keith Whyte said.
“We hope gambling operators, institutions of higher learning and state officials each feel a sense of urgency in adopting these responsible gambling policies and problem gambling treatment measures, whether sports betting is legal or might be in the near future.”