Responsible gaming programs are a critical part of everyday business practices in the U.S. casino gaming industry. The central goal of these programs is to ensure that patrons responsibly enjoy casino games as a form of entertainment.
The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Responsible Gaming Statutes and Regulations Guide is a centralized collection of the statutes and regulations addressing responsible gaming in the 34 states and the District of Columbia with commercial casinos, sports betting or internet gaming as of August 31, 2022. It is intended as a reference guide for industry stakeholders, researchers, lawmakers and regulators.
Importantly, the gaming industry’s full efforts to promote responsible gaming and address problem gambling go well beyond the legal requirements identified in this resource. Industry responsible gaming programs operate in compliance and parallel with state laws and regulations on responsible gaming. The majority of gaming operators and suppliers voluntarily implement responsible gaming programs with measures that expand upon what is formally mandated by law or regulation.
Since the Responsible Gaming Statutes and Regulations Guide was last updated in September 2019, 16 states have adopted legislation and regulations for sports betting that include various responsible gaming provisions. Similarly, land-based commercial
casino gaming has been approved in Nebraska and Virginia, while internet gaming has been legalized in Connecticut and Michigan. Beyond the expansion of new states, this guide provides insight into the changes and evolution of responsible gaming since 2019.
Although responsible gaming laws and regulations vary greatly between the 35 commercial gaming jurisdictions, many fit into the following broad categories:
- Responsible gaming plan required – 21 jurisdictions mandate that land-based and online gaming operators prepare and submit for approval a wide-ranging plan for addressing responsible gaming issues. Required elements of the plan often include employee training and public awareness efforts. For jurisdictions that require an overall plan, readers should examine the specific elements that must be included in each plan.
- Self-exclusion program – 34 jurisdictions require gaming or sports betting operators to adopt self-exclusion programs that enable patrons to exclude themselves from a casino or online/mobile gaming site and operators to expel self-excluded patrons if they are found gambling or wagering. The length of the self-exclusion periods available and the procedures for reversing self-exclusions vary by jurisdiction. A majority of jurisdictions establish a central self-exclusion register that includes enlisted patrons from all gaming venues and platforms. Some state laws specify that casinos and online operators must also eliminate direct promotional outreach to self-excluded individuals and deny them complimentaries – commonly known as “comps” – or access to credit.
- Property signage and responsible gaming disclosure – 31 jurisdictions have requirements around on property signage and/or disclosures related to responsible gaming. In some cases, that includes mandating the availability of brochures identifying the risks of problem gambling, requiring disclosure of toll-free helpline numbers and other resources for counseling and assistance, or that gaming advertising (print, billboards or electronic media) include responsible gaming messaging or a toll-free helpline number.
- Advertising restrictions – 30 jurisdictions establish specific restrictions on the types of, or content of, advertising that is permitted. Many jurisdictions require that gaming advertising not be deceptive or target minors.
- Wager/time limits – 25 jurisdictions with account-based online gaming, sports betting or digital wallet wagering in casinos require operators to provide a mechanism through which patrons may self-limit deposits, losses, wagering amounts and/or time spent gambling.
- Restrictions on extension of house credit – 28 jurisdictions block or limit the use of house credit in land-based and/or online casino gaming and sports betting. This may include outright bans on credit advances from gaming operators to patrons.
- Financial instruments restrictions – 17 jurisdictions restrict the ability of casinos or online gaming operators to accept credit card deposits, government issued checks or stored-value cards that represent public benefits, among other things.
- Treatment and research funding – 28 jurisdictions
- have codified commitments to support treatment for individuals with a gambling problem, education services concerning disordered or problem gambling, or research related to problem gambling. Most of those states earmark certain state revenues from gaming for these programs.
- Employee training – 20 jurisdictions specify that casino employees who work on the gaming floor or those who otherwise interact with customers must receive responsible gaming training. Some states require the training to include instruction on how to identify players demonstrating problematic or risky behavior on the gaming floor.
- Alcoholic beverage restrictions – 18 jurisdictions require casinos to limit alcoholic beverage service on the gaming floor or to limit access to gambling services for patrons who are visibly intoxicated.
- Beyond the overarching categories outlined above, states regularly implement other laws or regulations related to responsible gaming. These may include the creation of statewide responsible gaming programs, mandating research on the effectiveness of responsible gaming provisions, or requirements that operators verify gambling winners do not owe child support.
About the Guide
AGA’s Responsible Gaming Regulations and Statutes Guide, developed in partnership with VIXIO GamblingCompliance, details the commercial gaming industry’s financial performance, including analyses of each of the 35 jurisdictions with commercial gaming operations in 2021.
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