The AGA Looks To Streamline Problem Gambling Resources On National Level

Posted on August 5, 2021

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is proposing a new approach to national casino and sportsbook advertising campaigns that would simplify requirements for operators.

The association predicts this adjustment will improve consumer access to helplines and bolster responsible gaming efforts across the country.

AGA wants responsible gambling resources streamlined

Sports betting and casino gambling have become a budding source of entertainment in the United States and beyond. However, for players who gamble above their limits, this thrilling hobby can take a quick turn for the worse.

Gambling addiction can lead to serious problems for a player and his or her loved ones.

To provide assistance, more than 12 problem gaming helplines exist across the country.

The more popular gambling becomes, the more essential these helplines are. The problem is, however, messaging about these helplines has gotten lost in the details.

In an updated statement, the AGA notes the need for a streamlined approach to national gambling advertising campaigns.

The release points to state-specific regulations as the primary cause of ongoing inconsistencies on operator’s marketing materials, resulting in player confusion.

The last thing someone needs when seeking help for problem gambling is uncertainty about where to turn.

Responsible gaming requirements vary by state

Since every gambling jurisdiction has its own set of responsible gaming requirements, localized advertising varies between states.

Each jurisdiction requires operators to incorporate certain disclaimers into all print, radio, and video advertising.

This can get tricky, however, because every state publishes different helpline information.

This leaves operators incorporating 10 or more helpline numbers in small print at the bottom of a single nationwide promotion.

This overwhelming amount of information can be confusing to gamblers, who call one of the ad’s various numbers and may or may not get redirected to their own state-specific helpline.

Tennessee’s helpline in particular, the Tennessee REDLINE, noticed a decline in calls beginning in March, one of the busiest months when it comes to sports betting.

Representatives thought the decline could be a direct correlation to confusing helpline information being conveyed on advertising material.

Mary Linden-Salter of the Tennessee REDLINE first noticed this anomaly after March Madness, saying:

“We have noticed that online sports betting advertisements have been listing other numbers instead of the REDLINE, so it could be that calls are being made to other gambling hotlines.”

Out-of-state gamblers have also reported confusion. Many pose the question of whether to reach out to a helpline in the state where they reside or in the state where they are currently gambling.

AGA proposes a single responsible gambling resource

Instead of national campaigns listing multiple helpline numbers, the AGA suggests outfitting national ads with a single universal helpline number.

Ultimately, this would contribute to the association’s most important goal, which is providing direct, speedy assistance to those in need.

It would enhance consumer awareness of available resources, in turn improving the overall experience and well-being of a player.

Operators would be able to modify the way their disclaimers read in order to provide a more suitable presentation of appropriate problem gambling resources.

AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil sees these resources as an integral part of the gambling industry:

“Problem gambling helplines are a vital resource for those in need of help. Unfortunately, lengthy lists of state-specific helplines on national advertisements create barriers for those seeking help when we should be making these critical resources easily accessible. This approach—allowing the use of a national helpline in national advertising—is the most effective way to protect players.”

While the AGA wants to slim down responsible gambling hotlines, it also says old-school phone calls may not be the best way to offer help.

Helplines should offer supplementary text and chat options

In addition to the issues the AGA has pointed out with national advertising, there is another rising concern.

The association views call-in helplines as an outdated resource for problem gambling. Calling in for help may be ideal to some. Other demographics of problem gamblers, on the other hand, may prefer a more modern text or chat support option.

Feil added:

“As gaming expands across the country, it’s imperative that our industry continues protecting all customers. We believe there shouldn’t be obstacles to help for those who need it, and a modernization of the helpline system for national advertising is a good place to start.”

The Tennessee REDLINE currently offers both call and text support via its 24/7/365 helpline at 800-889-9789.

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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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