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UNLV launches study into impact of betting and igaming


The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) is to conduct a study assessing the impact of online gaming and sports betting regulation in the US, with the project to be funded by GVC Holdings’ non-profit arm, the GVC Foundation US. 

The study, which will be carried out by UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI), will assess developments in markets across the US, to determine the key issues facing policymakers and stakeholders, especially those related to player protection.

“Effective public policy is always best served by an evidence-based approach to its creation,” Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow in responsible gaming for IGI and chair of the International Center for Responsible Gaming, explained. 

“In order to provide the necessary player protections as well as ensure a stable and well-regulated marketplace, policies should be based on sound research evidence rather than opinion or conjecture,” he said. “It is our hope to contribute to the body of knowledge in this area so that the public can benefit from this activity and whatever harms may arise can be minimized to the greatest extent possible.”

IGI executive director Bo Bernhard added that the institute takes pride in putting together “dream teams” to conduct evaluations of the big issues of the day, such as whether and how to pursue legalization of online gaming and sports betting.

“The good news is that research teams from all over the world have been advancing our understanding of the key issues at play here, and we look forward to providing a critical evaluation of these research findings to help policymakers make the best decisions possible,” Bernhard said.

Funding will be provided by GVC Foundation US, the body established in September 2019 to coordinate the operator’s corporate social responsibility efforts, with a focus on promoting responsible gambling and sporting integrity. 

GVC’s director of regulatory affairs Martin Lycka, also a trustee of the foundation, said the industry had reached “a crucial point” in the development of the US market, with novel coronavirus (Covid-19) having caused widespread disruption. 

“Covid-19 has disrupted every area of life, including professional sports, mental health, and betting markets, and it’s more important than ever that we chart the course of this impactful industry,” Lycka explained. “Addressing challenges currently facing the gambling industry will lead to better outcomes for all.”

At a time when a growing number of lawmakers are considering igaming legislation, the IGI will analyze the market’s structure to make best-practice recommendations for regulatory expansion. This will see an initial report published by 31 July, with a more detailed analysis expected in the fall.

“There is perhaps no US industry more complicated, dynamic, and impactful than gambling,” Bill Pascrell III, partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group and another GVC Foundation US trustee, added. 

“It’s crucial that we gain a better understanding of the questions that policymakers are asking so we can serve as effective resources of information and guide public policy discussions in a meaningful way.”