As the sports betting industry continues to explode across the U.S., online sportsbook operators have been stepping up their promotion of safe and responsible gambling.
Of the dozens of sports betting apps expected to launch when Ohio sports betting begins on Jan. 1, 2023, all offer resources intended to limit problem gambling. Most sportsbooks allow bettors to set spending and time limits and help users initiate self-exclusionary protocols to keep them off the apps completely if the user feels as if their wagering has become problematic.
From the major sportsbooks to the new players on the scene, all of the online operators also feature on their websites and apps access to information about responsible gaming, from help for those already experiencing gambling problems to proactive measures and tips to identify potentially problematic behavior.
In 2022, many online sportsbook operators promoted their latest responsible gaming initiatives, especially during Problem Gambling Awareness Month (March) and Responsible Gaming Education Month (September). In an effort to establish industry standards, in September the major sports betting gaming operators even joined forces to sign a 12-point pledge committing to some basic principles of responsible online gaming.
Here’s a look at what some of the sportsbooks coming to Ohio have done this year to spread the word about responsible gaming and help combat problem gambling.
DraftKings promotes responsible gambling with software charity, Tony Hawk collabs
DraftKings has consistently been a leader on the responsible gaming front. Here are a few things they’ve done in 2022:
- To begin 2022, DraftKings announced that it would be offering more than $1 million in donations to help state councils across the U.S. fund local nonprofits that assist with problem gambling issues. The State Council Funding Program is offered to 35 states and will provide $15,000 per year for three years to each participating state.
- DraftKings also announced a global collaboration with BetBlocker, a UK-based charity organization that offers free gambling-blocking software that enables users to manage their gaming access across all devices and platforms. The collaboration helps BetBlocker expand awareness of its software in the growing North American market.
- For Responsible Gaming Education Month, DraftKings unveiled an advertising campaign focused on responsible gaming titled “Practice Safe Bets.” The TV and radio campaign featured commercials with a retro feel that parody NBC’s classic “The More You Know” PSAs. The ads feature skateboard legend Tony Hawk and pro wrestler The Miz offering tips for responsible wagering.
FanDuel introduces responsible gaming ambassadors
- FanDuel marked Responsible Gaming Education Month by announcing that Amanda Serrano would become its latest responsible gaming ambassador. The Puerto Rican boxer/MMA fighter will film PSAs in English and Spanish to promote responsible gaming.
- Serrano joins sports radio/TV personality Craig Carton, who was FanDuel’s first responsible gambling ambassador. Fanduel announced an extension of Carton’s ambassadorship deal, which it said will include a FanDuel/Craig Carton tour of college campuses to promote responsible gaming.
- Fanduel also announced the continuance of its multi-media advertising campaign, “The System,” which promotes the company’s in-app responsible gaming tools. The tools, also available on FanDuel’s website, allow users to set limits on their wagering
BetMGM, PointsPet focus on training employees about responsible gambling
BetMGM — in conjunction with MGM Rewards — used Responsible Gaming Education Month to promote GameSense, a program that provides a wealth of resources in one online hub. GameSense was developed and licensed to MGM Resorts in 2017 by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and MGM shares GameSense messaging throughout MGM Resorts’ casinos and hotels.
GameSense also powers MGM’s responsible gaming employee training, which has been expanded in the past year. Along with training thousands at MGM resorts, BetMGM had 1,000 employees trained in advanced GameSense practices and also certified its first “GameSense Advisors,” who receive the program’s highest levels of training.
Though not on the same scale as MGM, PointsBet also takes training employees about responsible gaming seriously. The company announced that, for the third year in a row, employees from all customer-facing departments honored Problem Gambling Awareness Month by participating in educational sessions to give staff guidance on how to identify and deal with instances of potential problem gambling.
“Responsible and problem gambling education for our staff is far more than just fulfilling a regulatory requirement,” PointsBet’s USA Chief Executive Officer Johnny Aitken said. “It is about sparking genuine dialogue and empowering our teams to discuss responsible gambling with our customers.”
PointsBet also recently conducted a survey in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), and the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. The goal was to better understand how to find solutions for those impacted by problem gambling, according to Aitken.
Top recommendations from the survey included sharing information about support resources, statewide self-exclusion, and information about pre-commitment limit setting tools.
Other Ohio sportsbook responsible gaming actions
- Betr, which bills itself as “the world’s first micro-betting app” and is backed by social media superstar (and Ohio native) Jake Paul, made news recently with a unique move that could directly help some users not lose control (or too much money) while betting. CEO Joe Levy says that Betr will be the first online sports betting operator to not allow bettors to use credit cards for deposits. He said Betr would also enforce deposit limits for its youngest customers (ages 21-25).
- Caesars Sportsbook made a splash with a star-studded commercial that ran during the Super Bowl this year. A trio of stars from that spot have also been featured in a series of commercials Caesars has been running to promote responsible gaming. Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning returned this year for another ad spotlighting the responsible gaming tools available within the Ceasars app. The Mannings debuted in a responsible gaming ad for Ceasars in 2021.
Ohio stepping up problem gambling resources ahead of sports betting launch
The state of Ohio already has resources in place for problem gambling assistance. The Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio State Racing Commission, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services collaborate on the Ohio for Responsible Gambling initiative, which offers numerous tips and resources online.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission’s Responsible Gambling page of its website offers the following resources:
- Information about applying to the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program
- Mental health resources for problem gamblers
- A list of questions designed to help identify whether a person has a gambling problem
- Addresses and websites for a number of problem gambling treatment facilities in Ohio
- Phone numbers for several different state and national gambling helplines
Ohio is expected to use 2% of the tax revenue from sports betting to help fund the state’s Problem Sports Gaming Fund. PlayOhio estimates Ohio will send about $1 million annually on the fund.