Pennsylvania gaming regulations require online gaming sites to provide tools for customers to monitor their time or expenses so they don’t get carried away, but are there any indications that these are being used? ? And if more and more people are doing it, is that a good sign?
Yes and yes, says Elizabeth Lanza, director of compulsive and problem gambling programs for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. In fact, the use of these voluntary limits when gambling online has nearly doubled over the past year.
Last week, Lanza told a statewide online conference of the nonprofit Problem Gambling Council of Pennsylvania that some 85,000 registered accounts in the state in February had used at least an option to limit their deposit of money, their spending or the time they use their phone or computer. for iGaming.
“These are limits that we impose on ourselves. … We see them as tools for everyone” instead of just people who know they have gambling addiction issues, she said. “In a perfect world, everyone would set all their limits just to keep their behavior at a responsible level.”
A year ago, Lanza told penn paris that the number of accounts using any of the responsible gambling tools at that time was 43,226. In a new interview, she said the number was 84,288 at the end of February, and she explained the number in more detail.
Number of known accounts, but no percentage
There are some caveats to this figure of 84,288, which is derived from reports that all 17 iCasinos, 16 online sportsbooks and four iPoker operators are required to deposit with Lanza each month.
For one thing, there’s a lot of overlap there. It’s not 84,288 different people who agree that managing their risk levels is good for them. If they use tools on three different sites – such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM – they are counted three times. If they use a tool on Caesars iCasino and then on its WSOP poker site, they are counted twice.
Additionally, the state gaming commission does not track the total number of registered accounts in the state with its many operators, so there is no indication of the percentage of players using the tools. But Lanza is happy that the number is growing, which she says may be mainly due to better public awareness of the options available. There are more iGaming sites available than a year ago, but most of this operator expansion has taken place even earlier. And all operators are required to educate new customers about responsible gaming tools and make them easily accessible.
“I imagine people are becoming more knowledgeable — they know limits are available and they’re using them,” Lanza said. “On the prevention side, people are taking matters into their own hands and want to keep their behavior at a responsible level.”
The gambling council also maintains a self-exclusion list for iGaming, which is designed to prevent players from registering or using an online gambling account. That number stood at 1,914 last month, which Lanza says is more reflective of people who know they have a problem out of control, while the much higher number using responsible gambling tools are those who can feel at risk if they are not careful – but who want to be able to enjoy the game to some extent.
“It’s like if I quit my job and started doing iGaming, I might not have a problem then, but I want to get in and use some tools to set boundaries,” she said. Explain. “It’s there and I might as well use it – there’s no downside. You can always go in and remove them if you decide the deposit limit is too small or too high. They can be changed or update.
Deposit limits are the most common tool
Of the various options among online responsible gambling tools, deposit limits are by far the most commonly used. Lanza said the 84,288 tools in place at the end of February break down as follows, with some accounts using multiple options:
- 59,611 accounts had voluntary deposit limits set by individuals, such as the ability to place a maximum of $50 per week or $100 per month in the account.
- 18,689 enjoyed a self-suspension recovery period, temporarily preventing themselves from playing.
- 7,311 had a limit on how much they could spend on gambling during a given period.
- 7,101 have set a limit on the size of each of their bets.
- 5,290 capped the time they could spend on a site.
- 145 poker players have limited the amount of their buy-in at the virtual tables.
Lanza said she was not authorized to determine which operators had the most customers using the tools, but she credited some with going above and beyond to help those in need. Of these, BetMGM, The Stars Group, and Penn National Gaming and its Barstool site provide means to limit actual “losses” in addition to deposits, and they have means to ensure that if a customer takes action to withdraw funds, he can’t reverse the decision.
Most other states offering online sportsbooks or iCasinos also require operators to provide responsible gambling tools, but Lanza said regulators haven’t compared usage numbers across states.
One area where Pennsylvania remains ahead of other states is joining the nonprofit Conscious Gaming’s PlayPause program, which is trying to create a nationwide system where a player who self-excludes from gambling online in one state could choose to be automatically excluded in other states as well. Conscious Gaming is still working to attract other states to the program, Lanza said.