How can we ensure that operators and bettors are aware of the risk involved in gaming? What can be done to ensure responsible gambling?
These are some of the questions the industry is asking itself as we enter 2021 and more US bettors than ever will have the opportunity to bet online.
We asked Robert M. Mims who is a Casino Pit Manager at Rivers Casino Philadelphia and who is someone that advocates for responsible gaming online. Robert has many years of experience and also blogs about sports betting and the industry on his site The Gaming Guy Productions.
Here are the 5 questions we asked Robert:
What does responsible betting mean in 2021?
Mims. Responsible Gaming in 2021 requires more restraint from the players as many social interactions have been limited or curtailed. If you like gaming activities like casino games and sports betting, you may find yourself gravitating toward those areas as a substitute for dining out or going to the movies. Therefore, if you plan to stay responsible with your gaming, certain parameters should be in place.
The core areas to be mindful of are: time spent playing and the amount of money invested.
What are the core areas bettors need to be mindful of? How well do you think the books that are legal in the US do when it comes to informing the bettors of the potential risks involved with betting?
Mims. The operators are focused on setting lines and booking bets. There is limited customer interaction in the brick and mortar book outside of that. The online sportsbooks do have a responsible gaming section and restrict wagering deposit increases for a 30-day period. This is good because it attempts to keep the player from going all-in after a bad loss. Brick and Mortar books must have relationships with the customer that include conversations about their play.
How do online compare to offline sportsbooks from what you have seen? Is there a specific sportsbook that is doing a particularly good job with keeping them safe and informed?
Mims. Most of the sportsbooks have the responsible gaming section. If I had to pick one book it would be William Hill. The CEO is Joe Asher and he has shared the story of his father having an addiction to gambling. Because of that experience, I tend to think that company has a sincere outlook that wants to protect the player. I am sure there are others.
What support exists out there today for gambling addictions for betting specifically? What would you like to see improve in 2021?
Mims. The AGA or American Gaming Association is the top place to find help. They have a responsible gaming week that prompts Gaming Operators to have discussions and display information about problem gambling. There is also an annual seminar that all gaming professionals must take that highlights the 7 warning signs of problem gambling. Most jurisdictions have this as a requirement. A way to improve the awareness would be to have conversations quarterly and share posts to the customers on social media about the 7 warning signs.
As online betting evolves, how do think betting behaviors will change when people are playing from home and on their phone instead of on-premise?
Mims. As people start playing more from home and on mobile devices, betting habits will change.
- If you play at the brick and mortar location you will be increasing your spend.
- Plays will be triggered by impulse and not as strategic.
- Casino Loyalty plans will place value on the player that plays online and in the casino.
- The players will have to show restraint and maintain a level of play that fits their time and budget.
- The time and budget should be set before the customer starts playing.