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Eva Ivanova May 17, 2021 3 min read
Problem Gambling Experts Warn of “A Ticking Time Bomb”
As the gambling and sports betting industry in the US thrives, experts and non-profit organizations warn of a lurking gambling addiction problem, which could soon become a big issue in the state.
Experts Say That the Problem Is Impossible to Quantify
Sports betting has skyrocketed after the Supreme Court ruling in 2018, and many states began legalizing sports wagering. Now, it is available across 21 states in the US. In these unprecedented times, North America has recorded a rapid rise in online gambling. According to problem gambling experts, there could be a problem on the rise, as more and more Americans spend a lot of money on gambling and state governments don’t invest enough resources in tracking and treating at-risk gamblers.
Experts are worried that the industry doesn’t have the measures to protect at-risk gamblers and help reduce money laundering. The concerns are that companies lack incentive and don’t prioritize this issue, as they focus primarily on profit.
Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Keith Whyte, said: “It’s this ticking time bomb. We have to take action now, but the problem is almost impossible to quantify.”
“The operators have enormous amounts of information and enormous power,” Whyte said. “And they have little obligation to be transparent about how they make these decisions, which in some cases involve millions of dollars and life-threatening situations.”
According to Whyte, operators have a lot of information and a lot of power, but they don’t have many obligations to be transparent about their decisions, and they have a lot of information and power.
Gaming Giants like FanDuel Have Taken Measures
Now, with a highly regulated industry, operators can’t risk fines and penalties for activating people from self-ban lists or operating unapproved games.
Companies like FanDuel and DraftKings offer features targeting problem gambling and allowing players to spend a limited amount of money, setting deposits, restricting themselves from placing bets for a period of time. DraftKings vice president of corporate communications, Sabrina Macias, said that the company takes responsible gambling very seriously.
In March, FanDuel joined AGA’s Responsible gambling campaign and became the first mobile sportsbook operator in the association with a “Have a Game Plan” campaign. Committed to raising awareness of problem gambling, the company joined forces with AGA to promote responsible betting.
In April, DraftKings added a compliance tool from the digital identity trust leader, Source. Its tools aim to provide a seamless online verification to help reduce drop-off rates and frictions.
Sports Betting with Record Revenues in the US
According to the AGA, in 2020, sports wagering has generated a record revenue of $1.5 billion in the US. In the 1st quarter of 2021, sports betting revenues increased by 270%, yet another record. DraftKings alone recorded a rise of 49% from 2019 ($432 million) with $644 million in 2020.
Another booming aspect of the industry is online casino gambling, which is legal in 6 states. In Q1 of 2021, online games, including slots and blackjack, tripled the revenue compared to the same period in 2020.
As states reap the benefits of legal gambling with soaring tax revenue, non-profit organizations designed to help problem gamblers remain chronically underfunded, officials say.