BetMGM has become the first online gaming operator in the US to implement the responsible gaming program known as GameSense. The program will be available in all jurisdictions where BetMGM has an online presence.
GameSense is an award-winning package that was developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and offers players tools and support to help them enjoy their gaming time responsibly. It also provides advisors to help educate players about how to keep their gambling fun whilst at the same time being safe.
MGM has run the initiative at its brick-and-mortar outlets for some time, having had GameSense interactive touchscreen terminals and educational material at MGM resorts since 2017. During that time, it has won several awards for its integration of the GameSense model and methods.
“MGM Resorts is committed to supporting responsible gaming efforts at our properties nationwide and we’re pleased to extend GameSense into the BetMGM platform,” CEO & President of MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle said via press release.
A Proven Record for Responsible Gaming Methods
The BCLC initially launched GameSense in 2009, as a research-based program, intended to promote awareness and educate players in responsible gaming methods. It is currently licensed by 14 gambling organizations throughout North America and is recognized internationally as an industry leader.
One advantage players have by choosing regulated sites over unregulated ones, is that the former have a commitment to providing responsible gaming tools. BetMGM is leading the way by implementing GameSense, which it intends to have fully integrated across all its casino, poker, and sportsbook sites later this year.
Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM’s Chief Executive Officer, stated that, “As the mobile gaming industry in the U.S. continues to grow, responsible gambling is a key focus for BetMGM and is critically important for the industry as a whole.”
Indeed, as mobile platforms make it easier for everyone to access gaming applications, it is an issue that the industry as a whole, needs to address.
Lynda Cavanaugh, interim CEO and President at BCLC had this to say on the matter: “As online gambling and sports betting increase in popularity, BCLC is so pleased that BetMGM is offering players more opportunities and resources to support healthy play with our GameSense program.”
She added, “BCLC’s commitment to player health extends well beyond British Columbia and we look forward to working with BetMGM to increase our mutual understanding about how best to provide players with the tools that enhance positive-play decisions.”
New Innovations to Help Problem Gamblers
In the past, it has often been up to players themselves to identify signs of problem gambling, which for obvious reasons, is not exactly a foolproof system.
Research by the Journal of Gambling Studies suggests that those individuals who identify as problem gamblers, are—unsurprisingly—unlikely to be able to self-regulate their addictive behavior. GameSense attempts to counter this with interactive content that engages with players, helping them to make informed decisions.
Greenblatt says, “GameSense presents a forward-thinking approach to responsible gambling. We look forward to empowering our players with a proven program, designed to help support a positive gambling experience.”
BetMGM is not the only operator taking steps to help minimize problem gambling. FanDuel has recently integrated the Gamban tool to its online gaming platforms. It is free to use and goes beyond the minimum regulatory self-exclusion requirements.
It can be used on up to 15 devices and according to FanDuel, will block problem gamblers from “thousands of gambling sites.” FanDuel’s owner Flutter will be rolling out Gamban across its other brands including PokerStars, Stars Casino, Fox Bet, Betfair, Stardust and TVG.
Promising Signs for a Better Future
It remains to be seen how effective these measures prove to be. Problem gamblers like all addicts, are very resourceful when it comes to finding a way to continue their habit. The Journal of Gambling Studies notes that, “Problems with self-control are seen as a key cause of problem gambling behavior”.
It is something of a catch 22: those most in need of help are also those who are more likely to circumvent restrictions. In the past, gaming operators may not have been particularly proactive in tackling problem gambling.
But recently it appears that they are taking the issue more seriously. There remains a lot to be done but these new tools should be applauded, and further innovations encouraged.