The Australian-based bookmaker PointsBet and the Problem Betting Council, located in Washington, DC, announced the launch of their research initiative on Monday, saying it will be “centered around responsible gambling decision making” for online sportsbooks.
PointsBet and the National Council on Problem Gambling are partnering for a research project that will probe how the industry responds to bettors showing possible signs of gambling addiction.
The Australian-based bookmaker and the Washington, D.C.-headquartered non-profit announced the launch of their research initiative last week, saying it will be centered around responsible gambling decision-making of online sportsbooks and other internet-based operators.
The effort comes as legal sports betting spreads across the United States, accompanied by concerns about a possible rise in problem gambling.
"Navigating how to identify and address problem gambling is a complex and sensitive issue, and operators are regularly faced with how to best respond to customers who are exhibiting problematic gambling behavior,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a press release. “Through this research project, we're aiming to gain more insights on the thought process that goes into finding solutions for those impacted by problem gambling as well as better help inform operator decision making on this matter."
The way that the program will work is as follows. When the National Conference on Gambling Addiction & Responsible Gambling 2022 takes place in Boston, attendees will be offered the chance to complete a fully anonymous survey. The survey will ask about three case studies where a gambler shows signs of potential gambling addiction. Respondents will have to choose what they would do, acting as the sportsbook operator.
The goal of the survey will be to identify what resources or steps online sportsbooks can take to prevent people from becoming problem gamblers. The results are expected to be released in September 2022 and help inform online sportsbooks when deciding what to do with potential problem gamblers.
"Our hope is that the results of this survey will spark dialogue amongst operators as well as regulators, treatment providers, researchers, and problem gambling advocates to help inform the responsible gambling decisions that online gambling operators face,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, in the press release.
One of the big concerns people have had with the wave of sports betting legalization that has swept across the United States is that of problem gambling. Detractors of sports betting legalization have put forward the threat of problem gambling and warned that legal sports betting could make it easier for those susceptible to addiction.
This has led to pressure on sportsbook operators to push resources into problem gambling initiatives. While every sportsbook has some resource for problem gambling, certain operators have taken this duty more seriously than others.
PointsBet, which is now live in 10 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario, isn’t the only sportsbook that is pushing in this area. FanDuel is another sportsbook that has recently contributed to reducing problem gambling. FanDuel committed $100,000 to the National Council on Problem Gambling.