Largest U.S. sportsbooks join forces to tackle problem gambling

Largest U.S. sportsbooks join forces to tackle problem gambling

Seven of the nation’s largest gaming companies are joining forces to create a trade group to promote responsible gaming, and for the first time ever, will share information about problem gamblers.

The seven operators — FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Penn Entertainment, Fanatics Betting & Gaming, Hard Rock Digital and bet365 — will form the Responsible Online Gaming Association, or ROGA, the group announced Wednesday.

The members account for more than 85% of the legal online betting market in the United States. Collectively they have pledged more than $20 million to fund ROGA.

“I’m incredibly excited to move this forward and to really do some impactful things and to really expand the knowledge through the research and to create these evidence-based best practices and to really empower players with information,” said Jennifer Shatley, executive director of ROGA.

ROGA members commit to work together on issues ranging from education, responsible gaming best practices, conscientious advertising and marketing across the industry.

The new group will also create an independent clearinghouse, or database, that will allow them to share key information related to protection of consumers, though the details on how it would work aren’t yet clear.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

ROGA says it will create a certification program to assess members’ responsible gaming efforts and provide an incentive for operators to participate.

The new consortium comes as sports betting, both online and in retail outlets, has seen dramatic growth across the nation since 2018. Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., now offer legal sports wagering.

This year, a record number of Americans bet on the Super Bowl. Online transactions totaled nearly 15,000 per second, doubling last year’s peak, according to geolocating platform GeoComply.

But as gambling has become more mainstream — and as advertising for sportsbooks spans television, streaming and social feeds — so, too, have headlines involving betting scandals and sports.

In recent days, Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani has found himself at the center of a $4 million betting scandal involving his interpreter and an illegal bookie. Ohtani insists he’s never bet on sports. The NBA is investigating Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter for irregularities around wagering. And U.S. Integrity, a tech firm working to combat illicit betting in college sports, flagged anomalies around the betting lines for Temple University men’s basketball games.

A result of those claims: The potential to provoke outrage and public criticism that could become an inflection point for the U.S. gambling industry. There’s also the potential for gambling’s explosive growth to undermine integrity in sports and entice bettors into addiction.

Problem gambling

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