AGA Wants More Responsible Gaming Measures in US

American Gaming Association (AGA)

The American Gaming Association is calling on better responsible gaming practices in the US as gambling expands across the nation.

Gambling is an activity enjoyed in many countries around the world, be it online or in person. Regulatory bodies expect operators to meet certain standards, including responsible gambling initiatives. In the United States, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is a lobbying group for casino operators that recently announced it wants the industry to implement better practices to ensure responsible gaming among consumers.

AGA Recommendations

The AGA provided several recommendations this week that its members feel will help provide better protection for players. The guidance is geared towards providing the essential resources to players so they can find help in stopping gambling behavior.

One recommendation is with gambling advertisements. The AGA feels that the small print posted at the bottom of advertisements is not easily seen as it is near other state regulations and resources. The typeface is too small and hard for players to read. The group feels that there should be a single helpline provided instead of several telephone numbers and resource options.

Jessica Feil is the AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel who says that the problem gambling helplines are vital to those who need assistance. However, the long lists of helplines that are state specific or national advertisements create an issue for those who need help. The resources should be easily accessible by problem gamblers.

A national helpline would create one option that would help players easily reach assistance instead of trying to figure out who to call.

Creating a National Hotline

Even though the gambling industry is nothing new in the United States, a national hotline is not actually something that players have access to. There is 1-800-GAMBLER telephone number, but it only helps players in specific states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

There are also state specific hotlines for Tennessee, Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Nevada, and others. The National Council on Problem Gambling also provides a hotline. For the AGA, the group feels that one hotline would provide a simple solution for players who need help, without causing any confusion.

If a problem gambler is too confused to know who to contact, they might give up altogether. Currently in some states, there are ads that regulators require contact phone numbers or resources to be listed. While this is a good thing, too much clutter makes the process confusing and not as helpful as it should be.

Updated options are also on the table according to the AGA. We live in a time when technology is used daily. The group suggests that text messaging or even online chat support be an option instead of using just a toll-free number.

A telephone number is considered an outdated option, especially since most consumers conduct business online today anyways. With new, more technologically advanced options, players might feel more at ease contacting support and requesting assistance for their gambling problem.

In the United States today, it is estimated that one to three percent of adults have a mild problem with gambling. The industry provides yearly payments for treatment initiatives with hundreds of millions spent to help players.

The money provided is used to develop and utilize responsible gaming policies as well as fund self-exclusion programs, research, and treatment for players. Training for employees is also provided.

It will be interesting to see if the plan to create a national hotline is provided in the US. As sports betting grows, and online gambling is added in more states, the national option would certainly help players to feel more at ease with finding the help they need.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.