The Responsible Gambling Collaborative (RGC) – an umbrella organisation dedicated to responsible gambling and the prevention of problem gambling – has announced new effectiveness principles and the results of a state-by-state study on RG funding.
The body, which includes the American Gaming Association, National Center for Responsible Gaming, National Indian Gaming Association and Responsible Gambling Council, revealed six effectiveness principles, designed to to foster responsible gambling in the US.
The first of these principles is to support funding for research and evaluation. The RGC recommended that government funding should support research into identifying behaviors that encourage responsible gambling and practices that are most effective in getting problem gamblers into treatment services.
“We know research is essential to better understand and encourage responsible gambling, support prevention and treatment of problem gambling, and to advance the most effective public policies and business practices related to these issues,” it said.
The second principle was to support funding for problem gambling treatment. Not only did the RGC call for government funding for evidence-based research on treatments for problem gambling, but it also recommended health insurance providers provide coverage for those seeking treatment for gambling problems.
The third principle was to help patrons make informed choices about their gambling through clear and direct disclosure messages. The RGC also called for research into what type of messages are most effective in allowing patrons to make informed choices.
“Gamblers who hold rational beliefs about gambling have lower risks,” the RGC said. “Making customers aware of the odds of games and potential risks of problem gambling promotes transparency and gambling literacy.”
A further principle was to ensure every company has a responsible gambling plan and industry employees understand their role and responsibility in fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling behavior.
The RGC said such a plan should, “take into account self-exclusion programs on property messaging, financial instrument restrictions, employee training, credit restrictions, and alcoholic Beverage restrictions.”
The fifth principle listed concerned confirming gambling-related business practices encourage responsible gambling. In particular, it said that operators should enhance transparency when it comes to the extension of credit.
The final RGC principle is to equip consumers with the tools they need to gamble responsibly and prevent problem gambling behavior.
“We believe consumers who set and adhere to spend and/or time limits more successfully moderate their gambling,” it said. “We believe consumers should have access to related tools, as they can be effective in fostering responsible gambling.”
Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling said he believes the principles can start a discussion that should lead to greater responsibility in gambling in the future.
“The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles are meant to spark discussion, encourage collaboration, and generate new insights into this critical area,” Whyte said. “We encourage all stakeholders – policymakers, regulators, advocates, researchers, and industry – to build upon these fundamental principles, inserting evidence-based activities and regulations that support safe, responsible gambling.”
In addition, the RGC announced the results of an analysis intended to understand whether funding allocated for responsible gambling and problem gambling from states’ gaming tax proceeds are appropriately spent as they are designated.
The study found that six states – Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania – likely spent the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues. Four states – Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma – likely did not spend the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues.
The RGC said the results for a further four states – California, Iowa, Mississippi and Ohio – were unclear.
“While much has been achieved in addressing problem gambling, the Responsible Gambling Collaborative aspires to make even greater strides toward smarter policies and better practices,” Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow in responsible gaming at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s International Gaming Institute, said.
“As states are one of the main beneficiaries of gaming revenue, it is essential that designated funding for responsible gambling is used for its intended purpose.”
Bill Miller, president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association (AGA) said the study and launch of the new effectiveness principles were the perfect way to set the tone for responsible gambling in the 2020s.
“I can think of no better way to lead our industry into a new decade than renewing our commitment to effectively promote responsible gaming and tackle problem gambling head on,” Miller said. “The Responsible Gambling Collaborative has an important role to play as we chart a new course for responsible gaming, and the AGA is proud to be a part of it.
“The research released today provides important insight into the allocation of funding for essential programs. As the top benefactor of gaming taxes, it’s troubling to see that state responsible gaming funds are not always used for their intended purpose.”