May, 2021 Newsletter
Each month, we will share with you updates on the progress we are making to bring our responsible gaming technology to the U.S. market. As the industry expands online and throughout the United States, we — and the entire industry at large — want to ensure the tools are in place to protect those that are vulnerable.
Conscious Gaming is a philanthropic organization committed to utilizing advanced technology to propel social responsibility initiatives. Our first effort is in the area of responsible gaming.
Importance of Responsible Gaming SafeGuards
As gaming explodes across the U.S., with sports betting and other mobile and online wagering now legal in nearly half the states, it is important we remain mindful of those who have a problem with gambling. Gambling is another form of entertainment for most, but it can cause harm too and destroy lives for a percentage of the population.
We must put in safeguards to protect the vulnerable, and give them easy access to responsible gaming tools — and make that access as easy as it is to place a bet.
The nature of the U.S. market, with states deciding and regulating the industry, means a patchwork or rules. Each state has proven capable of determining what is best for their residents, however, this also creates silos and makes information-sharing harder, as each entity focuses on following the rules applicable to their jurisdiction.
The Role of PlayPause as an RG Tool
To this end, Conscious Gaming has created PlayPause, a technology tool to better protect consumers, break down silos and encourage information-sharing among states, operators and sports leagues. PlayPause helps the consumer — who makes this industry viable in the first place — so if they need to take a pause or stop gambling, proper information sharing happens so they are protected regardless of where they are in the U.S.
It also serves as a sports integrity tool, helping sports leagues prevent betting from their coaches, players, referees and other employees. Think of PlayPause as a multi-state or national repository, where vulnerable or prohibited individuals get protections regardless of where they are, instead of just inside their current state borders, as it is now.
Data Privacy – A Necessary Component of RG Initiatives
Data privacy is a critical consideration, and PlayPause was built with data privacy as a guiding principle. The tool facilitates the de-identification of players; removing or manipulating all direct and known indirect identifiers to break the leakage to real world identifiers. As a result, the solution does not involve any sharing of personally identifiable information with PlayPause.
This is a fancy way of saying, the solution is elegant and confidentiality remains for the consumer. They can self-exclude, be protected and not have to worry about their information being exposed or losing the confidentiality they desire.
We are in the early days, but it is our hope, the industry will get behind us, support us and continue to join with PlayPause to ensure as this industry rapidly expands across the United States, protections for the consumer and insiders do too.
Pennsylvania the First State to Launch PlayPause – More to Come!
The state of Pennsylvania, via the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has launched PlayPause. After several months in use, we’re pleased to report the technology is working flawlessly and consumers who are self-excluding in the state are sharing their exclusions with PlayPause to help extend their coverage across state lines.
Currently, the PlayPause tool lacks effectiveness though, because it requires information-sharing. Other state regulators, gaming operators and sports leagues also must pledge to join the effort. BetMGM and Entain were announced as the first operators to support PlayPause. We will integrate our technology with theirs, so anyone using the BetMGM/Entain platform to make wagers, will share into PlayPause, extending protections into all the states BetMGM/Entain operates in now or moves into going forward. We recently also announced an agreement with Golden Nugget Online Gaming. Details here.
Discussions are ongoing with many of the industry’s stakeholders, with productive dialogue giving us encouragement that PlayPause will be a difference-maker for the industry. If you have yet to discuss PlayPause with us or would like to hear more about it, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Impermissible Bettors and How do Sports Leagues Fit?
Responsible gaming encompasses many layers, but suffice to say, stakeholders in the industry want to make sure only those permitted, make wagers with online regulated U.S. operators. This means they are of legal age, are participating for entertainment purposes, and are not utilizing insider information that gives them an unfair advantage.
Impermissible Bettors is a term to describe any group of people who are forbidden from placing bets due to policy or rules of their employer or based on state-mandated regulations. For sports leagues, impermissible bettors may include league employees, team employees, coaches, players and referees. A sports integrity tool for them. For operators and regulators, this typically means their employees who are working in or overseeing the industry. While “self-exclusion” describes consumers who choose to restrict their own gambling activity (voluntary exclusion), “impermissible bettors” instead have their betting restricted due to their role at the place of employment (involuntary exclusion).
This is where sports leagues come in as it relates to the sports betting category. It makes sense. Those on the inside should not be able to take information they are only privy to. Integrity of the game is something you hear sports commissioners express as one of their most important tenets. League personnel travel extensively too, playing road games often. It is important they are prohibited from betting, not just in their home state, but wherever they may be at the time.
Instead of having a database of “self-excluded players” like regulators and gaming operators do, sports leagues have their “impermissible bettors” to contribute to the PlayPause repository.
In fact, not just sports leagues. But gaming operators, regulators and even some key industry suppliers and partners would have reason to contribute to PlayPause. It is critical to make sure the industry does just as good a job handling “insiders” as it does its customers.
Do you have your own impermissible bettors on your staff? If so, reach out to us, we are happy to work with you to bolster your integrity protocols.
Did you know there are 17 U.S. states currently operating sports betting that have regulations around impermissible bettors?
We have put together a useful guide detailing the specific language relating to impermissible bettors currently in their rules.
Important Facts About Conscious Gaming
As a non-profit organization funded solely by donations, Conscious Gaming is utilizing the 100% model. This means, any public donations received, go directly to the projects the donor chooses. GeoComply, who created Conscious Gaming, plans to cover overhead for the organization, along with other private donors as needed as the operation grows.
Conscious Gaming is currently involved in three separate projects — 1) PlayPause, the responsible gaming technology and sports integrity tool. 2) Bettor Safe, a consumer education campaign around the illegal betting market, and 3) Human trafficking, by utilizing our technology to assist child protection efforts.
We look forward to detailing our efforts on Bettor Safe and in the Human Trafficking space in our next newsletter.
As a donor, the option will always exist to donate to the cause you wish, which we feel is as important as our mission — utilizing technology to better protect consumers.
It is also important to understand that whatever we get involved in, we plan to utilize evidence-based research to inform us and guide us. To that end, we recently announced an Advisory Board, a terrific trio you can learn more about here, who have already had an impact in our efforts.