This week’s gambling news is all about the growing threat of problem gambling. As sports betting and online betting spread across America, more and more states are becoming concerned with the possible rise in gambling addiction. Now, some media outlets have even begun to attack betting operators. Are their worries and criticisms founded? Or is the issue of problem gambling overstated?
Welcome again to This Week in Gambling, where we have more record revenue to report, and more gambling expansion to discuss. But some dark clouds are on the horizon, and that is this week’s big story. Last week we reported on record revenue highs from all across the country. But no sooner had that show aired than more reports of all-time revenue highs started pouring in from states like New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. What’s more is that states like Nebraska, Maine, and Massachusetts are all gearing up for a sports betting launch at some point this year. And even New York state is now considering the regulation of online poker! But in the middle of all this good news and optimism comes something a bit more ominous: Problem Gambling.
States with regulated sports betting are now starting to discuss gambling addiction calling it an unintended consequence of regulation. And it really doesn’t help that there are some operators out there doing some really stupid shit! Caesar’s, BetMGM, and DraftKings are all facing fines in the state of Ohio for a plethora of violations… some as simple as not including a responsible gaming message or a problem gambling hotline in a prominent location in their advertising. Others, as serious as sending a direct mail advertisement for gambling to people who aren’t old enough to gamble!
Now lawmakers in Virginia, Ohio, and New York state are taking actions to address the gambling addiction issue, from forming committees to study gambling addiction all the way to hiring more counselors to deal with the problems. And they’re not alone. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, where sports betting is expected to launch soon, there are some regulators expressing concerns over gambling operators forming so-called Media Partnerships. And down in Kansas, where sports betting is already up and running, there are legislators who now feel the topic of problem gambling needs to be revisited, and that the state is grossly underfunded to deal with the problem. All of this is happening as gambling operators increase their media blitz leading up to the Super Bowl, creating what could be a perfect storm of sorts. We actually spoke about this topic specifically in a video we made a couple of months ago.
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And finally this week, some media outlets in America have already started attacking the gambling industry. Calling colleges and universities “freaking idiots” for making partnership deals with sports betting operators… And calling out the lottery for what they feel are predatory practices. Are they right? Do they have a point? Well, in my opinion, problem gambling in this country is most likely nowhere near as bad as our critics would have us believe…. However, problem gambling in this country is probably much worse than what most operators would care to admit!
So, we have this divisive issue on our hands where lines are drawn based on personal opinions and experiences. It’s not fair to punish 99% of the population just because 1% has a problem. It’s also not fair to abandon and ignore that 1% and leave them to their own destruction. Especially if it’s your mother, father, spouse, or child. So, what is the answer for problem gambling in America? My friends, I’m afraid that’s a question better left to smarter people than me.