March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. One of Pennsylvania’s leading online casino and sports betting operators in BetMGM is pledging to improve responsible gambling messages in its marketing going forward.

The PA Lottery and all PA online casino operators also continue to offer tools and resources to assist PA gamblers in maintaining a healthy relationship with gaming.

BetMGM marketing to feature responsible gambling messages

BetMGM pledged to provide prominent placement of responsible gaming messaging within the BetMGM online casino and in company advertisements. Those ads can be found on billboards, as well as television, print and radio all across the US and Canada.

In addition, responsible gambling reminders and banners will be further incorporated into BetMGM’s digital and social platforms. This also includes signage at BetMGM’s retail sportsbooks and related properties.

“We are committed to leading the industry in promoting responsible gaming, which is why we’re announcing this unprecedented pledge to spotlight responsible gaming messaging in our advertising,” Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM CEO said in the news release. “As the legalized sports betting and online gaming industry continues to expand, it is vital that we not only equip players with tools and resources for how to play in a responsible and safe manner, but that we also make a significant commitment to showcasing responsible gaming in our advertising.”

BetMGM’s responsible gaming messages were developed in partnership with GameSense. The company created an award-winning responsible gaming program developed and licensed to MGM Resorts and BetMGM.

The GameSense program focuses on positive, transparent and proactive conversations with players about how to gamble responsibly. It also provides customers with responsible gaming resources and tools that can help to set spending limits.

PA Lottery has also joined the push for more responsible gaming

As legal gambling continues to grow across the country, many entities are pouring more resources into responsible gaming efforts. The PA Lottery is collaborating with state and national groups devoted to responsible gambling and promoting its own available resources.

In addition to PA’s well-known 1-800-Gambler hotline, players can also receive immediate support from others. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania (CCGP) is available by phone, text or chat. Those resources can help players learn about the warning signs of problem gambling and access counselors and self-help meetings.

“It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, but we know the issue doesn’t stop after the month ends,” Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in a press release. “That’s why the Pennsylvania Lottery is committed to not only raising public awareness but also providing tools and resources to players who may be suffering from gambling-related harms.”

Tools available on the PA Lottery website allow players to set limits, take cool-off periods or self-exclude for set periods of time. Players can also complete a short survey that evaluates their gambling behavior and can identify potential problems.

Ohio sports betting launch leads to increase in problem gambling calls

The importance of responsible gambling and the available resources might be best examined with a closer look at neighboring Ohio. It just introduced legalized sports betting in January. According to a report for responsible gambling in Ohio, calls to Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline increased 227% from January 2022 to January 2023.

The statistics provided by Ohio for Responsible Gambling also revealed that the total number of calls to the helpline increased for the sixth consecutive year.

Other key findings included a 135% increase in calls from December 2022 to January 2023 (the last month prior to legalized sports betting arriving). There was also a corresponding increase in telephone support transfers for problem gamblers (66%) and the number of chat support sessions (45%).

PGCB sees self-exclusion list expand

Every state has responsible gaming resources readily available for players who may develop problems. In Pennsylvania, one of those resources includes the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) self-exclusion list, which continues to grow.

Players can join that list in any or all of the following categories:

  • Casino
  • iGaming
  • Video Game Terminals (VGTs)
  • Fantasy contests

According to the PGCB’s latest annual report, the number of self-exclusions in 2022 were on pace to break a record in the state. There were a total of 2,077 self-exclusions in the first six months of 2022. Meanwhile, the entire year of 2021 only produced 2,891 self-exclusions.

However, self-exclusion is just one of many options players have to help them curtail problem gambling.

PA casinos provide responsible gambling tools

The PGCB requires that every operator has responsible gaming tools available to ensure that players develop healthy habits. Some other popular responsible gambling tools include:

  • Time limits
  • Deposit limits
  • Spend limits
  • Wager limits
  • Cooling-off periods
  • Contest limits for daily fantasy
  • Reality checks (alerts that make you aware of gaming time)

As gaming continues to grow in Pennsylvania, responsible gambling efforts are key to providing a safe experience for individuals and a sustainable environment for the industry.

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