How operators should promote responsible gaming

May 19, 2023

William (Bill) J. Pascrell, III, Esq. writes about how the gaming industry can research, educate and collaborate to promote better gaming habits.

New opportunities for gambling arise daily as new states legalize fixed-odds horseracing, esports, brick-and-mortar casino gaming, online casino gaming and sports betting. With these opportunities expanding throughout the country, it’s more important than ever that gambling companies educate their customers on best practices for responsible gambling. Regulatory boards, federal and state governments, and even consumers themselves, have a role to play in ensuring the safety of gamblers. However, no group bears a greater responsibility than the operators themselves.

Operators have full control over their platforms and, as such, countless adjustments can be made to reduce the likelihood and impact of problematic gambling behavior, from player safeguards to incentive limitations.Here are some of the best ways that operators can promote RG to their customers:

Fund meaningful RG initiatives

Operators should fund responsible gambling initiatives that are exploring new ways to reach gamblers and those in high-risk groups, like college athletes. For example, Entain Foundation US, for which I serve as a Trustee alongside Martin Lycka, SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, and former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer, sponsors or partners with a range of responsible gambling organizations. These include Epic Risk Management, which facilitates “lived experience” responsible gambling classes across the country; Kindbridge, an independent virtual clinic that provides mental health services to people suffering difficulties related to gambling and gaming; and the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, a provider of financial assistance and counseling for former NFL players, to create, market, and launch live and virtual educational programs for NFLPA members.

Support academic research

Academic research must play a central role in addressing problem gambling, ensuring comprehensive self-regulation on the part of gambling companies and effective gambling regulations. To that end, Entain Foundation US invested $5m in a multi-year partnership with the Harvard Medical School Faculty at the Division on Addiction, providing Harvard with access to anonymized player data across a range of our brands. We also partner with the UNLV International Gaming Institute to provide information to legislators and regulators about sports integrity, youth gambling impact, illegal marketplacee and Americans’ perception of gambling.

Industry collaboration

On September 22, six of the largest online gaming operators in the US – Bally’s, BetMGM, DraftKings, Entain, FanDuel, and MGM Resorts International – came together to agree to the first industry-led responsible gambling standards in the country. Fanatics, Hard Rock Digital and PointsBet have since joined the group.

The coalition of operators defined 12 principles that include commitments to prevent underage and excluded individuals from participating in any form of gaming; to provide customers with informed choices about gaming through easily understood responsible gaming tools, and to continuously conduct research to track the impact of this collaboration.Here’s an abbreviated version of the 12 principles, the full version of which can be read here.

  • We take active steps to prevent underage and excluded individuals from participating in any form of gaming within our products.
  • We help patrons make informed choices about their gaming.
  • We support the adoption and effective promotion of a unified nationwide responsible gaming toll-free helpline.
  • We abide by applicable standards of socially responsible advertising.
  • We provide our customers with tools to play responsibly.
  • We abide by all self-exclusion rules and regulations, and provide resources to individuals who make the choice to self-exclude.
  • We encourage patrons to set a budget they can afford and never play beyond their means.
  • We encourage patrons to set time and financial limits on their gaming – and stick to them.
  • We believe in a shared-responsibility approach to addressing problem gaming. We work with policymakers, academic experts and researchers, problem gaming treatment organizations, advocacy groups, our partners, and our customers to promote responsible gaming and address problem gaming.
  • We support funding for evidence-based problem and responsible gaming research.
  • We provide employees with responsible gaming training upon hire and regularly thereafter.
  • We are committed to evaluating and continuously monitoring our responsible gaming programs and initiatives.

I believe strongly in the work that these operators are doing to promote responsible gambling. While the 12 principles don’t cover every possible aspect of an operator-led RG program, they lay out a strong foundation on which the gambling industry can build an effective and unified front to tackle problem gambling, and protect their customers from harm. As noted by Martin Lycka, the principles are “truly a first for this market and a significant step for addressing problem gaming on a consistent basis.”


Education continues to serve as a crucial component of responsible gambling programs- not just for problem gamblers, but for higher-risk groups like athletes and the economically disadvantaged.For example, Entain Foundation US partnered with Seton Hall Law School to establish an annual multi-day Gaming Law, Compliance and Integrity Bootcamp, to ensure that industry professionals are equipped to incorporate responsible gambling into their everyday work.

Further, we sponsor former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley’s “Oak Out Hunger” community project, which emphasizes the importance of responsible gambling to impoverished, underprivileged communities in cities across the US. The project promotes Gamble Responsibly America, a mobile app that educates users on safe gambling habits and Wager Score, a platform that rewards responsible gamblers by converting 1% of every dollar bet into charitable tax-deductible donations for social causes.

In conclusion

While the term “responsible gambling” is well known and understood, I often refer to the practice as “sustainable gambling.” Here’s why: if US operators don’t undertake a serious, industry-wide focus on protecting their customers, the industry will be plagued by the same crises that Europe has faced in recent years. The very sustainability of the gambling industry is dependent on operators’ dedication to responsible gambling. It’s in the best interest of gambling companies to ensure the industry is properly regulated, that customers are given the proper tools and education to avoid problematic behavior, and that resources are dedicated to the treatment centers, counselors and support groups that are on the front lines of combating problem gambling. With this approach, we can ensure a healthy customer base, a reasonable regulatory environment, and bright future for all operators. 

William J. Pascrell III, Esq., or BPIII, is a Partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group and a Trustee for Entain Foundation US, a first-of-its-kind non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible gambling, sports integrity and corporate compliance in the US. Entain Foundation US also sponsors a variety of information and education programs on problem gambling for professional athletes, collegiate athletes, coaches and teams at 40 US colleges and universities and several associated leagues. Globally, the Entain Foundation has committed more than $100m to RG programs over the next five years. 


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