Four US states "likely did not spend" the allocated tax money on responsible/problem gaming issues

Responsible Gambling Collaborative launches new effectiveness principles, funds allocation study

Responsible Gambling Collaborative a platform presented the Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles during a NCLGS panel discussion titled “Unifying Stakeholders to Drive Responsible Gambling Effectiveness.”
2020-01-13
United States
Reading time 3:12 min
The topics were presented and discussed Saturday at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) Winter Meeting. It is the first-ever attempt within the US to create a consensus statement endorsed by academics, researchers, advocacy groups, and casino gaming industry organizations.

The Responsible Gambling Collaborative (RG Collaborative) introduced Saturday new effectiveness principles for fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling, as well as a state-by-state study on the allocation of responsible gambling funding. The announcement was in coordination with the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) Winter Meeting.

The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles, which provide a framework and recommendations for preventing problem gambling (PG) and promoting responsible gambling (RG) solutions, represent a first-ever attempt within the United States to create a consensus statement endorsed by academics, researchers, advocacy groups, and casino gaming industry organizations.

“The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles are meant to spark discussion, encourage collaboration, and generate new insights into this critical area,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. “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.”

“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,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), in a news release Friday. “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.”

The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles are:

  • Support funding for research and evaluation.
  • Support funding for problem gambling treatment.
  • Help patrons make informed choices about their gambling.
  • 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.
  • Confirm gambling-related business practices encourage responsible gambling.
  • Equip consumers with the tools they need to gamble responsibly and prevent problem gambling behavior. 

Directly supportive of the first and second principles, the RG Collaborative conducted a study to better understand whether funding allocated for RG and PG from states’ gaming tax proceeds are appropriately spent as they are designated. The analysis showed states’ handling of RG/PG tax funding fell broadly into three categories in the most recently examined fiscal year(s): Six states (IN, MD, NJ, NV, NY, PA) likely spent the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues; four states (KS, LA, MO, OK) likely did not spend the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues; and four states (CA, IA, MS, OH) are unclear. In these cases, funds may be partially diverted to other issues, the state has recently rolled back the dedicated funding streams for RG/PG altogether, or never had a dedicated funding stream.

“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,” said Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow – responsible gaming at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas - International Gaming Institute. “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.”

Members of the RG Collaborative discussed the effectiveness principles and study on Saturday during a NCLGS panel discussion titled, “Unifying Stakeholders to Drive Responsible Gambling Effectiveness,” on the second day of the Winter Meeting that ended yesterday in San Diego, California.

RG Collaborative participants include the American Gaming Association, Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators, Harvard School of Public Health, National Center for Responsible Gaming, National Council on Problem Gambling, National Indian Gaming Association, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, Responsible Gambling Council, University of Nevada, Las Vegas – International Gaming Institute, University of Memphis, Washington State University, and Yale School of Medicine.

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