21st Century Gaming Requires 21st Century Self-Exclusion

Stream of Consciousness Blog by Conscious Gaming®

The gambling industry in the United States is in the midst of a rapid expansion, particularly via mobile and digital channels. Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting with more states looking to add it in their jurisdiction too.

What is different today is the accessibility. A patron used to have to travel to the casino. But today, the casino travels with the patron, in the form of a mobile phone in everyone’s pocket.

That’s why we need to fundamentally rethink how the industry administers its responsible gaming programs for this new, modern and completely digital offering. Consumers also need consistency and standards.

Too Many Obstacles for Effective Self-Exclusion

For example, here are the hoops an individual must jump through in one U.S. state if they wish to self-exclude, i.e. take a pause, from online gambling:

  1. Search a state regulator’s website for a form.
  2. Print out the form.
  3. Fill out the form.
  4. Take the filled out form to a notary, along with identification, to verify and have it notarized.
  5. Pay for notary fees.
  6. Mail the completed form to an address, designated by the state regulator.
  7. Allow up to 45 days for a regulator to review and respond.
  8. Receive confirmation via email or letter to mailing address on file.

Isn’t the goal here to help a person in need rather than putting a series of blockers in their path?

Unfortunately, even if a person makes it through the entire process, it’s only relevant within that particular state. Consumers need protection across state lines too.

The Problem is Now and Conscious Gaming® is Ready to Help

We can’t afford to wait. States that recently enacted online sports betting are showing a huge increase in calls to problem gambling hotlines.

Conscious Gaming® is here to help. We will donate, at no cost to state regulators, our technology and PlayPause® tool to modernize and strengthen your self-exclusion program — or build you a Self-Exclusion in a Box solution, if you don’t have one.

What’s the catch to get something at no cost? There isn’t one. We must remove the barriers. The reasons why we can’t. Consumers need it. There can be no obstacles. The technology exists. The solution exists. Let’s quickly work to modernize, strengthen and standardize self-exclusion in the U.S.

Applying Advanced Technology to Solve the Problem

Today, it’s possible to digitally verify someone using online tools and technology. I know this, because online sportsbooks are doing this everyday. You can sign up and register for an account all from your mobile phone. You can verify your identity and even fund your account as part of the steps. In minutes you can be making your first wager online.

So, if you can sign up and play online in minutes, shouldn’t you be able to self-exclude online too?

Of course, you should. But for some reason, responsible gaming measures haven’t been adopted by some state regulators to fit the online marketplace that exists today in all the jurisdictions that have legalized online gaming.

In fairness, this isn’t the case everywhere. States like Pennsylvania and New Jersey do offer individuals the opportunity to complete the self-exclusion process online. Other states must follow suit.

Consumers need help, and they expect immediacy. They have cars pick them up, and take them wherever they want, in a moment’s notice. They order food to be delivered with a few clicks. They book travel online, while at the same time digitally renting out their own place to strangers.

What’s Needed: Standardization, Registration and the Right Technology

The greatest expansion of gambling in U.S. history is upon us. We must take responsible gaming measures more seriously. Before a state allows gaming, it must put technology in place that easily allows consumers an online avenue to sign up for self-exclusion, if they wish.

It is also imperative to have standardization. It would help consumers more easily sign up. It would help operators better ensure compliance if they could manage one centralized system, where the rules are the same no matter which state you’re in.

Regulators should challenge themselves to put in place a system that can register individuals in self-exclusion as fast, or faster even, than it takes them to register to place a wager online.

It can all be done online, in real-time and be seamlessly integrated with all the stakeholders. We know gambling can pose harm to some people. We owe it to those individuals, their loved ones and the industry we are in, to make it easier to get help.

It is time to act, before it is too late.

Seth Palansky, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Conscious Gaming®

Visit us at www.ConsciousGaming.org, www.PlayPauseGaming.com or www.BettorSafe.org