More Than a Pledge

Responsible gaming is a priority for the casino industry

It’s an exciting time to be a gaming enthusiast in America. The Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting in May, opening the doors for states and sovereign tribal nations to legalize sports betting. Fans of teams across the country could soon have more ways than ever to enjoy responsible gaming.

Sports fans in New Jersey and Delaware are already enjoying their new ability to wager on sports legally, and just last month, Mississippi became the third new state to offer legal sports betting since the ruling. Delaware, the first of these states to offer full-scale sports betting after the federal ban was lifted, saw more than $7 million wagered in the first month of operation. In New Jersey, more than $16 million has already been wagered by fans eager to participate in new, legal markets. Every dollar wagered under the protections of a legal, regulated market like those in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi ensures greater consumer protections.

At the American Gaming Association, we have always taken our duty to promote responsible gaming seriously. When the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting, we recognized more people than ever could soon enjoy expanded legal gaming opportunities. As such, we are making it a priority to ensure that everyone—seasoned participants and new bettors alike—is aware of how to bet responsibly.

Last month, as part of our annual Responsible Gaming Education Week, the American Gaming Association introduced an updated Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming reflecting the new legal betting landscape on sports wagering, as well as new provisions for responsible advertising. This Code of Conduct serves as a model for the gaming industry to promote safe environments and responsible play for every patron across the country.

Earlier this year, we unveiled a new initiative, bringing together renowned thought leaders, industry stakeholders and academics to form a new Responsible Gaming Collaborative. This is designed to identify the programs and policies that most effectively address responsible gaming.

Specifically, the collaborative is committed to holding governments accountable for proven solutions. It is our hope that a group of such diverse stakeholders will produce truly innovative and unique solutions to such an important issue.

Our priorities are to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of current responsible gaming policies and regulations;
  • Identify programs that work and those that fail;
  • Study regulations to determine which are based on solid evidence;
  • Determine whether government resources are being properly targeted toward effective programs and prevention;
  • Develop a set of recommendations and industry best practices; and,
  • Work with regulators and other stakeholders to understand the best approaches.

Each year, the gaming industry provides local and state governments with more than $300 million for responsible gaming research and treatment programs. Our collaborative will help make sure governments are appropriately allocating these resources and finding new ways to advance the mission and promote responsible gaming nationally.

The gaming industry is already an active partner within the communities in which we operate, supporting local, small businesses, providing career opportunities and good-paying jobs, and contributing to local nonprofits and philanthropic initiatives.

In 2017 alone, more than $9 billion in tax revenue went to state and local governments across the 24 states that have commercial casinos. This revenue from gaming supported local aid, health-care payment reform, transportation infrastructure, education and much more. Our commitment to the economic prosperity of our communities is matched only by our commitment to ensuring that those living in our communities have access to the resources and education to bet responsibly.

There’s so much opportunity for gaming in America right now. That’s exactly why the AGA, state gaming commissions across the country and the gaming industry’s Responsible Gaming Collaborative are all working together to promote safe, responsible gaming, serving as resources for all Americans who choose to enjoy this mainstream form of entertainment.

Sara Slane is senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association.

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