The sports wagering and igaming industry in the US continues to roll out as more and more states open their markets to the sector, but this has not come without concerns for the public and mental health.

For Daniel Umfleet, Founder and CEO, Kindbridge, promotion of mental health treatment and awareness is both the right thing and responsible thing for betting and gaming companies to do as the US wagering market continues to expand.

Speaking to Martin Lycka, Entain’s SVP US Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, on the latest episode of the Safe Bet Show, Umfleet explained what responsible and safe betting means to him, and detailed how and why it should be promoted by the industry.

A key observation Umfleet made related to the mental health implications of gambling, with the CEO noting that many illnesses and diseases such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS and cardiac arrests are decreasing, but suicide has been on the upward trend for some time.

“I think that there’s a big trend in the United States, that is a really unfortunate trend that also needs to be addressed, and that’s really the fact that since the 90s, the US has seen a 33% increase in deaths by suicide,” he explained. “Across the globe, we’ve seen a 38% decrease over the same period.”

He added: “A big milestone to success as we roll across the country, and bring gambling into the legal market, is just helping to understand how big of a bullhorn that casino has and how much call to action they can do to help individuals that are struggling out there is I think a big piece of the puzzle.

“One, is to use your bullhorn wisely. Promoting mental health management isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do. Two, recognising the gamblers that are struggling have an abnormally high suicide completion rate – that’s something that I think we need to all address and move forward on and collectively construct creative ideas on how to combat that.”

“I think there is a lot that the industry and the regulators can do to build the necessary support structures in each respective state to help combat the problem. It’s not just limited to cool off periods are self exclusion programmes, education and prevention and key, but also access to services that help people understand an unhealthy relationship with gambling.”

Casinos and sportsbooks, he argued, are in a very uniquely placed position to promote mental health awareness due to the number of customers active across their numerous platforms, both online and land-based.

Umfleet concluded: “There’s a lot that’s going on with mental health across the country. There’s also a rapid expansion of sportsbook and casinos going on as well, and I think that the concluding message would be to let’s just make sure that we’re looking at the right types of infrastructure and the right types of architecture that can provide a level of support that gets the person where they need to go and get them what they need as quick as they possibly can.”

Source – Sports Betting Community YouTube Channel

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