BetMGM GameSense Integration Gives PA Gamblers New Responsible Gambling Tools

A coming BetMGM GameSense expansion of the app and website gives online casino players in Pennsylvania protections against problem gaming.

If knowledge is power, Pennsylvania online casino players who make BetMGM Casino one of their regular stops are about to become more powerful. A new BetMGM GameSense partnership offers more information that gamblers can use to play responsibly.

It’s another step for BetMGM’s impressive work in providing customers with tools to develop healthy habits when it comes to gambling. The deal also puts GameSense’s products in many of the biggest gaming markets in the country like PA.

The details on the BetMGM GameSense collaboration

If you’ve ever played the lottery in British Columbia or visited a brick-and-mortar MGM casino, you might have already encountered GameSense. The BC Lottery developed the program and MGM has employed it via its M Life Rewards offering to retail casino customers.

Soon, the same responsible gaming tools will be available in the BetMGM casino and sportsbook apps, along with the website. Among them are a clear and customizable way to stay informed about personal gambling activity.

The added software will allow users to set custom alerts for things like dollars and time spent on the app/website. The software then automatically tracks activity across the verticals. That information is available on-demand. Additionally, BetMGM users can opt to receive notifications when approaching limits.

The interactivity of the product doesn’t end there, though. GameSense employs Advisors who players will be able to access for free through BetMGM’s platform. Those trained specialists can provide feedback on gambling habits and direct customers to resources for people with compulsive gambling issues.

The program’s effectiveness is tied to awareness. Gamblers who keep track of their activity are more likely to avoid developing compulsive issues. The program makes such tracking quite simple. It also enhances the enjoyment of the gaming that users do afford themselves, as it takes the responsibility of tracking dollars and hours off of the player.

A press release does not disclose exactly when the new integrations will be available to BetMGM customers in PA, only stating it will happen “later this year.” However, other online gambling companies in PA would do well to emulate BetMGM in this manner.

BetMGM continues to set the pace in responsible gaming

Most states with some form of legal gambling have self-exclusion programs for players. Those allow people to effectively ban themselves from gambling for a period of time. However, the state-by-state regulation of those programs has one weakness.

For the most part, states do not even share that information with each other, much less enforce self-exclusion lists in other states. Thus, it’s theoretically possible for a person on a list in New Jersey to travel to PA and gamble.

BetMGM was the first in PA to try to plug that hole. Late last year, BetMGM activated a partnership with PlayPause. PlayPause is a multi-jurisdiction self-exclusion program. All participating gambling companies, like BetMGM, have access to the registry.

The easier that gambling companies make responsible gaming, the more likely players are to avoid poor choices. With GameSense soon to be a part of its technology, BetMGM is a leader in modernizing the business of playing with your head.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass

Spanish 21 Blackjack Coming To Pennsylvania As Part Of DraftKings Casino Expansion

DraftKings Casino has expanded its menu with a new Spanish 21 Blackjack variant and the title will be available in Pennsylvania soon.

For PA online casino players who enjoy variants on traditional games, waiting for DraftKings Casino to bring its new Spanish 21 Blackjack game to the Keystone State might feel like sitting across from a dealer who is on 16. The game is currently available only in New Jersey.

DraftKings is clear that it plans to make that and other new titles in its menu available in other markets soon. It precedes a collaboration with a new game provider that ensures DraftKings’ portfolio is competitive.

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What is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

The table game variant resembles standard Blackjack in most ways. For instance, the dealer in the game has to hit on 16 and stand on 17. The object of the game is still to get closer to 21 than the house without going over.

The variances can not only prolong the game but also give gamblers an edge. For any player who hits a natural 21 on the first two cards, it’s an automatic win, even if the dealer does the same. Additionally, there’s the option to double down on any number of cards.

Should players desire, they can surrender on the original wagers after doubling down or splitting aces. In this way, it’s theoretically possible to draw unlimited subsequent cards. Of course, doing so could cost you a lot if you lose.

This game will add to the contingent of exclusive titles only available on DraftKings’ casino platform in PA when it goes live. To date, there’s no official timeline. DraftKings is adamant that the game will eventually be available to players in Michigan, PA, and West Virginia, though.

When that happens, it will also supplement the variety of Blackjack titles on the app. DraftKings currently offers options like single-hand and standard games with a number of themes. Basketball Blackjack, anyone?

If variety is the spice of life, then it’s imperative for online casino apps in PA to be well-seasoned. DraftKings recently made another move to deliver players extra spice.

DraftKings adds game provider with interesting implications

The connections in the online gambling industry can be intriguing at times. For example, BetAmerica Sportsbook ran on SBTech’s platform until the middle of last year. DraftKings owns SBTech. Thus, you could say DraftKings had a vested interest in the success of a competitor.

The same thing goes for a new addition to DraftKings’ roster of game providers. That now includes DGC, which is a joint venture between Entain and MGM. MGM’s own online gambling product, BetMGM, competes with DraftKings and was the first to offer DGC games.

Slot titles in that portfolio include:

  • 9 Masks of Fire
  • Assassin Moon
  • Diamond Inferno

Again, players in NJ have access to those games now. DraftKings plans to take them live in PA at some point.

A win-win

B2B (business to business) products like these are wins for everyone involved, regardless of the fact that DraftKings and MGM compete in some ways. DraftKings keeps its casino offerings competitive while through DGC, MGM gets another viable revenue source.

Think of this as a farmer’s market where multiple individuals bring their goods for sale to a central location. By cooperating in a way that makes all the products accessible at one location, everyone enhances their chances of making sales.

Hopefully, the wait won’t be long for PA gamblers to enjoy DraftKings’ additions. Spanish 21 Blackjack and the DGC games should be worth the wait, though.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

PointsBet Poised To Compete For PA Online Casino Players Soon

The menu for online casino players in the Keystone State is set to expand again, as PointsBet Pennsylvania prepares to enter the market.

The gambling company that has long had Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson on its celebrity endorser roster will now actually be available for most Sixers fans to try out. PointsBet Pennsylvania is coming thanks to a market access deal with PA-based Penn National.

There’s no official timeline for when the online casino and sportsbook will launch in PA. It’s also unclear just how PointsBet intends to grab a significant share of the market entering at this juncture.

How PointsBet Pennsylvania got this far

Recently, Penn National Gaming and PointsBet expanded their partnership that’s been in place since late 2019. Among other things, that gave PointsBet access to one of PNG’s PA skins.

The agreement doesn’t specify exactly which Penn property in PA will delegate its skins to PointsBet. Most likely, that will be its yet-to-open “mini-casino” in York.

PNG’s two existing facilities and other forthcoming mini-casino, Hollywood Morgantown, already have digital partners, including the “in-house” brand Barstool Sportsbook. While Barstool and PointsBet technically will compete with each other for sports betting handle in the future, it’s all the same for Penn.

This will be the second or third market for PointsBet’s casino platform, following its launch in New Jersey. PointsBet also has market access for iGaming in Michigan but has not yet launched there.

PointsBet currently offers online and retail sports betting in MI and NJ, along with Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Altogether, it has some form of market access deal in 14 states.

While it has established a presence in those markets, it has yet to establish itself as a leader in any. Can it change that in PA?

PointsBet’s marketing tools

Like most other PA online gambling companies, marketing is pivotal for PointsBet. In that vein, PointsBet has two primary avenues in PA.

Its partnership with Penn will play into this, as visitors to the York “mini-casino” will undoubtedly see a lot of the brand around. The other primary delivery method will be through a media partnership.

PointsBet made a deal with NBC last year, making it the sports betting service of choice for all of NBC’s media channels. That not only includes the sports social media accounts and websites but its television channels as well.

That means a lot of PointsBet commercials during 76ers, Flyers, and Phillies games, as NBC Sports Philadelphia has the broadcast rights for all those events. As a launch date nears, the frequency of ads on NBC properties may increase. The use of Iverson in those spots may increase as well.

That may not mean very much with online casino players, though. On that side, PointsBet will probably rely on web ads informing players of deposit and registration bonuses.

How soon might those start popping up and what might that entail? The pending platform in MI and the existing online casino product in NJ tell us a little about that.

What’s the deal with PointsBet Casino?

For new customers in NJ, PointsBet Casino offers two separate bonuses. The first is a $25 registration bonus. Players who choose to make a cash deposit will enjoy a 100% match up to $250, with a minimum of $10.

PointsBet’s menu of games includes live dealer games from Evolution Gaming, slots, table games, and video poker. The other game providers on PointsBet’s roster include Bally, IGT, Konami, and NetEnt.

There’s little information about when PointsBet might launch in PA, though the company would probably like to do so as soon as it’s practical. The company’s leaders don’t see the late entry into PA as a serious obstacle, however.

PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken seems to feel PointsBet can use its market access and publicity tools to become one of several brands that PA online casino players frequent. He’s quite comfortable with that, too.

“We know coming from Australia, it’s very rare for clients to hold one betting account – they can hold two, to three, to four,” Aitken said. “We feel supremely confident in PointsBet being one of those four.”

Whenever PointsBet Pennsylvania gets near its debut, PA gamblers will likely have a hard time not being exposed to the brand. Whether that will result in PointsBet making up ground in the market remains to be seen, though.

PA-Based Penn National Could Become An Industry Leader In Cashless Gaming

Cashless gaming is another way that gambling companies like Pennsylvania’s Penn National are trying to modernize their services.

You’ve possibly used Apple Wallet, Google Pay, or a number of other apps to make purchases in stores using nothing but your smartphone before. That same technology could soon become as commonplace in Pennsylvania casinos, as cashless gaming systems mature.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are also on the horizon as banking options for gamblers. It’s all an effort by companies like PA-based Penn National Gaming (PNG) to make sure they accept the payment forms consumers prefer to use.

Is cashless gaming coming to PA casinos?

New, electronic payment options seem more a matter of when than if at this point. Last week, PA Gaming Control Board executive director Kevin O’Toole told PlayPennsylvania the agency is working toward providing a regulatory framework for various cashless funding sources.

The use of such payment methods is already available in disparate, sparse places in the US when it comes to gambling. For example, Boyd Gaming has introduced a digital wallet into its rewards program. Patrons at Boyd properties in Nevada, Indiana, and Ohio have access to “BoydPay.”

For gamblers unfamiliar with the concept of a digital wallet, it’s essentially an electronic version of your bank card. The payment tool is an app on your smartphone, which has the payment details stored. Soon, any business that doesn’t accept this kind of payment will become obsolete.

Why cashless systems are popular

There are three benefits to both payees and payors in this system. First, it provides an added layer of protection for customers’ financial details, as the system doesn’t actually use the 16 digits on your bank card.

Secondly, it reduces contact between employees and guests in a couple of ways. There is less physical currency that changes hands and customers never have to touch processing equipment as they would in the process of swiping a bank card.

Third, it allows companies like Penn National a way to seamlessly integrate customer loyalty programs. Research shows consumers are starting to expect such offerings. It’s a natural marketing tool, as well.

How close are PA gambling companies like Penn to implementing acceptance of this type at their brick-and-mortar facilities? PNG is working on the answer to that question.

PNG properties could see program soon

Eric Schippers, PNG’s senior vice president for government relations and public affairs, signaled that this effort is getting the company’s foremost attention.

“We recently launched our MyChoice loyalty program mobile app,” Schippers explained. “Which will provide us with an environmentally friendly and more efficient way to communicate, interact, and engage with our guests. The 35 to 54 age group is currently the most engaged audience with the app, which is very encouraging as this group represents a growing segment of our different business channels.”

When retailers like grocers have been accepting cashless payments for years, why has it taken so long for the gambling industry to catch up? Concerns about responsible gambling have slowed rollout. However, it’s all about perspective.

How cashless systems actually benefit responsible gambling efforts

The primary hesitation about giving gambling operators the green light to use cashless systems is responsible gambling. Put simply, the fear is that with no physical currency leaving gamblers’ wallets, more of them will struggle to stick to their budgets.

That’s more of a lack of an understanding of the technology than a legitimate concern, though. The fact is that cashless systems give gamblers who prefer to play in-person rather than online some of the same protections that online gamblers enjoy.

For instance, users of PNG’s MyChoice app could use the app to set custom spending and time limits. The app can also provide them with real-time statements of their gambling activity, including how much money and time they’ve spent.

Awareness is a key safeguard against developing a compulsive gambling issue. Gambling companies are also becoming more aware of cryptocurrencies.

Kicking the tires on Bitcoin

Right now, acceptance of cryptocurrencies is something that gambling companies are keeping at arms’ length. They are making sure to keep it within their sights, though.

IGT, which provides gaming software to a number of US companies, has a patent on cryptocurrency acceptance in its digital wallet system. While it does not have any partners currently employing that option, it could only be a matter of time.

The unregulated nature of the currency that makes it attractive to many consumers could be an exact hindrance in the gambling industry. Cashless gaming systems are in their infancy. For that reason, it’s likely regulators will want to stick to federally-regulated bank cards for the time being.

PNG seems on board with that idea as well. When it does start accepting digital wallet payments, it will likely restrict the options to debit cards.

In the near future, playing a slot at The Meadows may only require you to wave your phone in front of the machine. PNG wants to be among the first to make that option available not only in PA but across the nation.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Wayne Parry