As the US gaming market continues to evolve, so does the importance of responsible gambling strategies – with Chris Soriano, VP, Chief Compliance Officer, Penn National Gaming, highlighting that there is much to be learned on this front from land based operations. 

Soriano expressed the view as part of a panel of industry experts gathered to talk about responsible gambling during SBC’s latest webinar, which was sponsored by Jumio

He stated: “A good place to draw experience from, is the landbase experience that US operators have had, and what we’ve learned about the importance of working with regulators to make sure that a patron who wants to self-exclude on the landbase side can easily do so. 

“As an industry, that landbase experience is there and a lot of lessons that we learn there can easily be brought in to underline the need to have the messaging around responsible gaming be prominent in a property.”

The webinar commenced by questioning the significance of the opportunity of events like the Super Bowl and how they can be used to showcase responsible gambling tools. 

Tracy Parker, Director, Standards and Accreditation, Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) described it as presenting ‘a great opportunity’, as the RGC sought to utilise the event to publicise its message.  

According to Parker, events like the Super Bowl are also great for recreational gambling. She pointed out that sometimes when responsible gambling is discussed, operators and regulators actually mean problem gambling, and they focus on a small group of players that are suffering significant harm. 

However, there are responsible gambling needs across the player spectrum, and the Super Bowl offers a great opportunity to remind new and casual players of the tips on responsible gambling.

Having expressed a shared opinion that the Super Bowl is highly beneficial for the emerging US betting market, the guests were asked about the importance of introducing responsible gambling messaging and tools to US betters who are mostly just starting their betting life.

Responding, Parker offered up a comparison between new bettors and new drivers. He explained that similar to driving, gaming also needs to be preceded by education and awareness building. 

He added that proportionate to the fact that people shouldn’t drive if they haven’t created the habits of fastening their seat belt and looking out for street signs, normalising responsible behaviour in bettors as early as possible should be prioritised.

Carolyn Renzin, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, FanDuel, added: “One of the interesting parts of the journey they are all on, as we’re learning here, is figuring out where’s the appropriate balance between the players’ responsibility to use tools provided to them as optional, versus the operators’ responsibility to proactively set limits and enhance regulatory requirements?

“And before operators are inclined to require something, more research is needed because we want to be sure that we know why we’re requiring something. There’s a lot of talk of let’s force this and that, but I think we aren’t there yet in part because we don’t have the research to prove to us that doing so will solve the problem at hand. We’ve got a lot of work to do to figure that out.”

On the topic of measures against problem gambling, an audience member asked the panel if something like the UK’s GAMSTOP method of universally banning players from all platforms could be possible in the US as well, given the differences in state regulations.

Ryan Halstead, Jumio’s VP for North America, commented: “There’s no one solution. You’re going to have to develop a platform, and that platform is going to have to be able to tie in multiple signals. Those signals could be coming from GAMSTOP or other organisations. You’re going to have the ID portion, the ML portion, the duty of care portion, the affordability portion. You’re looking at a multitude of different things here. 

“There should be a platform in the future where it can tie in different signals and be able to provide that information back to the gaming coordinators,” Halstead concluded.