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 industry devotes hundreds of millions of dollars each year to responsible gaming efforts, including support for best practices research, the development and distribution of educational materials for customers and other stakeholders and extensive and ongoing employee training, among others. Additionally, AGA members have each committed to implementing the AGA’s Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct and the AGA provides the industry with a wide-range of responsible gaming materials.
The AGA’s Responsible Gaming Regulations & Statutes publication is a collection of the statutes and regulations addressing responsible gaming in the 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have commercial casinos or sports betting regulations as of August 31, 2019. It is intended as a reference for industry stakeholders, researchers, lawmakers and regulators.
Responsible gaming requirements generally fall into several broad categories, as detailed in the report:
- Responsible gaming plan: As a condition of licensing, states may mandate land-based and online gaming operators to 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 states that require an overall plan, readers should be sure to examine the specific elements that must be included in each plan.
- Self-exclusion program: Under these programs, patrons may exclude themselves from a casino or online/mobile wagering site, and a casino may expel them if they are found gambling or wagering in violation of the self-exclusion program. State statutes vary in the length of the self-exclusion available and in the procedures for reversing self-exclusion. Some state laws specify that casinos and online operators must also eliminate direct promotional outreach or marketing to self-excluded individuals, and also must exclude them from complimentaries or access to credit.
- Property signage and responsible gaming disclosures: States may require that casinos post signs and offer resources designed to foster responsible gaming and identifying the risks of problem gambling, as well as disclosing toll-free phone numbers and other resources for counseling and assistance. Moreover, states may require that gaming advertising (in print, on billboards, or on electronic media) include a responsible gaming message, including a toll-free helpline number.
- Advertising restrictions: States may impose restrictions on the types and location of advertising permitted and require that gambling advertising not target minors.
- Wager and time limits: States with account-based online gaming or sports betting may implement mandatory wagering limits or require online operators to provide a mechanism through which patrons may establish self-imposed limits on deposits, losses, wagering amounts and time spent gambling.
- Credit restrictions: By prohibiting casinos from offering credit advances to patrons, certain state laws aim to deter patrons from betting more than they can afford to lose. Some states also restrict the use of credit cards to secure cash on the gaming floor.
- Restrictions on financial instruments: States may specify that casinos not accept government-issued checks or stored-value cards that represent public benefits, ATM transactions or credit or debit cards.
- Treatment and research funding: States may implement financial commitments to support treatment for problem gamblers, education services concerning problem gambling and research to advance responsible gaming and prevent problem gambling. Most of those states earmark certain state revenues from gaming for these programs.
- Employee training: States may specify that casino employees who work on the gaming floor or those who have customer interaction should receive training on responsible gaming and problem gambling; some states require the training to include instruction on the complex question of how to identify potential problem gamblers on the gaming floor.
- Restrictions on alcoholic beverages: States may require casinos to limit alcoholic beverage service on the gaming floor, or to limit access to gambling services for patrons who are visibly intoxicated.
- Other: Among other things, states may require their gaming regulators to create a statewide responsible gaming program, submit a study on the effectiveness of responsible gaming provisions or require operators to verify gambling winners do not owe child support.
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