Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles represent a first of their type in the U.S.

In February 2019, we wrote about work then being undertaken  in the United States by the Responsible Gambling Collaborative (“RG Collaborative”), an organisation established during 2018 by the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) to:

  • conduct a comprehensive review of current responsible gaming policies and regulations,
  • identify programs that work and those that fail to meet their objective,
  • study regulations to determine which are based on solid evidence,
  • determine whether government resources are being properly targeted toward effective programs and prevention,
  • develop a set of recommendations and industry best practices and
  • work with regulators and other stakeholders to understand the best approaches.

On 10 January 2020, it was reported in an RG Collaborative news item that – on the following day – it would announce new effectiveness principles for fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling, as well as a state-by-state study on the allocation of responsible gambling funding.

Following long-established UK safer gambling principles, the Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles announced on 11 January 2020 are:

  1. Support funding for research and evaluation.
  2. Support funding for problem gambling treatment.
  3. Help patrons make informed choices about their gambling.
  4. Ensure every company has a responsible gambling plan and industry employees understand their role and responsibility in fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling behavior.
  5. Confirm gambling-related business practices encourage responsible gambling.
  6. Equip consumers with the tools they need to gamble responsibly and prevent problem gambling behavior.

The RG Collaborative says that “the Principles address a simple, but critical question: What are the most effective ways to foster responsible gambling, as well as prevent and address problem gambling?”.

It goes on to say:

These Effectiveness Principles are meant to spark discussion, encourage collaboration, and generate new insights into this central question. They are a starting point for industry, policymakers, regulators, academics, and practitioners—and are not intended to be a complete compilation or a statement that other methods are not relevant or appropriate. We encourage stakeholders to pursue any and all evidence-based efforts to promote responsible gambling and to address problem gambling.

Previous research findings, scientific papers, and strategic frameworks have helped guide important efforts to implement responsible gambling, prevent problem gambling, and address problem gambling behavior.

Our Effectiveness Principles build upon these efforts, but also represent a first-ever attempt within the United States to create a consensus statement endorsed by academics, researchers, problem gambling advocacy groups, and gambling industry organizations.

While much has been achieved in addressing problem gambling, the Responsible Gambling Collaborative aspires to make even greater strides toward smarter policies and better practices. We believe it is time for a comprehensive review of existing responsible gambling policies and regulations, and hope these principles will assist in that assessment. Based on solid evidence and sound science, they provide a common framework for identifying the best approaches to promoting responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling.

The pressing need for an initiative such as this in the U.S. was highlighted by both David Clifton and Suzanne Davies in their respective panel sessions (entitled “Avoiding the pitfalls – Lessons to be learned from other regulated markets” and “Tackling problem gambling – What is effective?”) at SBC Events’ Betting on Sports America conference at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, New Jersey, U.S.A. in April 2019.

The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles have also been welcomed by Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, who has issued a statement in the following terms:

I can think of no better way to lead our industry into a new decade than renewing our commitment to effectively promote responsible gaming and tackle problem gambling head on. The Responsible Gambling Collaborative has an important role to play as we chart a new course for responsible gaming, and the AGA is proud to be a part of it. The research released today provides important insight into the allocation of funding for essential programs. As the top benefactor of gaming taxes, it’s troubling to see that state responsible gaming funds are not always used for their intended purpose.

You can download below:

  • the Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles,
  • the above-mentioned RG Collaborative news item dated 10 January 2020, and
  • a summary description of the RG Collaborative and its mission.