To render RG tools 'cool' for bettors

Massachusetts Gaming Commission convenes roundtable to reinforce responsible gaming tools

Reading time 1:41 min

In response to the low use of responsible gaming tools by sports bettors, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) plans to organize a roundtable involving operators, industry experts, and other stakeholders to address the issue. The goal is to discuss strategies to make responsible gaming tools "cool" and widely used.

The MGC has been collecting quarterly reports from all eight licensed online sports betting operators. These reports indicate that mandatory responsible gaming tools, such as betting limits, cool-off periods, and deposit restrictions, are not being widely adopted by users.

For instance, among users of DraftKings, the most popular mobile platform in Massachusetts, less than 0.1% used the time limit tool, 2.3% set a deposit limit, 0.13% limited the amount they could bet in a certain period, 0.4% set a maximum bet, and 1.4% opted for the "cool off" tool.

 Cathy Judd-Stein

"This was a very important piece of the application, we wanted to make sure that we had strong RG tools for individuals to use on their device," MGC Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said at a late November meeting, as reported by Worcester Business Journal

"We know we share this with other jurisdictions, this is not novel. But really, these tools are very critical to this particular commission ... and I know that our director of research and responsible gaming has been concerned that the bettors just are not utilizing them."

During a meeting on Thursday, where other operators were heard, Judd-Stein compared responsible gaming tools to helmets used by skiers or cyclists, highlighting the importance of prevention. She expressed a desire for bettors to view these tools in the same way skiers view ski helmets.

Anthony D'Angelo, the director of responsible gaming at Fanatics, conveyed that the company's research revealed a general agreement among users that "RG tools are useful, but they were just not for them" and that "there's a stigma around the usage of tools," he said.

Judd-Stein sees this issue as an opportunity for the MGC to bring together operators, responsible gaming experts, and other stakeholders in a roundtable to foster dialogue and generate ideas that can enhance the effectiveness of responsible gaming tools.

"We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to destigmatize responsible gaming through the variety of tools that we offer in GameSense. And I think that this is a space that is ripe for us to be paying attention to," Mark Vander Linden, the commission's director of research and responsible gaming, said. "This is a top RG priority for us."

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