In the immediate fallout of the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) decision to overturn PASPA, much has been speculated about what the next steps are for New Jersey, and the plethora of other states seeking to pass sports betting bills through legislature.

It is now thought Monmouth Park will be accepting the first wagers on Memorial Day, Monday May 28, beginning the much sought after roll-out across The Garden State after years of legal battles.

One key area to be addressed is that of problem gambling, and the help that will be directed its way via what is expected to be a hugely profitable industry country wide.

Amongst the numerous statements released in the aftermath of the SCOTUS decision earlier this week, was that of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), encouraging everyone involved in the sports betting expansion to work alongside the group.

Responsible gaming is a shared responsibility and it works best in partnership.”

With Marlene Warner, president of the NCPG board of directors, and Keith Whyte, the groups executive director, stating that expansion “will likely increase gambling participation and gambling problems unless steps are taken to minimise harm,” and “the only ethical and economical way to maximise benefits from sports betting is to minimise problem gambling harm,” respectively.

Whyte expanded on this, explaining the importance of having significant time, effort and funds directed the way of problem gambling minimisation: “We call on the equivalent of 1% of revenue to be put back towards harm minimisation.  

“But we need a lot more than just money.  Responsible gaming (RG) is a shared responsibility and it works best in partnership. The gaming industry is full of top notch talent in things like marketing, IT, government relations, etc….Active participation helps us work towards best in class programs and policies.  

“RG efforts should look and feel and have the same resources and development as other core business segments. An NGO (non-governmental organisation) can’t meet that standard alone, but could in partnership with operators and vendors.  

“Having top execs, senior developers, CTOs and marketing gurus commit their time & energy to these projects is enormously helpful. It is so easy to tell when RG gets handed to a junior staffer or intern as an afterthought – that company clearly does not see it as a core part of their business.  

“And it is important to remember that just as the gaming industry itself has gone through enormous changes and evolution in products and technology, RG requirements and commitments change as well, they can’t stay frozen in time while everything else moves at light speed.”  

“We have a critical role to play…but we will need a lot more support to do so effectively.”

The NCPG also discusses research showing current gambling activity generating over $115bn in overall revenue to local, state and federal government, but also resulting in $6.5bn in associated costs, including criminal justice and healthcare, stating “these costs are often hidden and difficult to see”.

Before addressing the two percent of adults, or approximately five million people, experiencing gambling problems, stressing that “these social and economic impacts must not be ignored.”

With this in mind Whyte went on to explain the significant role in which NCPG must now play, following the judgement: [It’s] potentially critical for several reasons: one – as we are only organisation I know of whose members include leagues like NFL, casinos, lotteries, vendors, gaming regulators and recovering gamblers. So if those who are pushing for legalisation want to build consensus, we are a great place to go.  

“Two – we’ve released a set of RG guidelines for sports betting legislation to provide clear and simple guidelines so nobody has to reinvent the wheel, and again we are the only national group that has done so to date.

“Three – the safety net for problem gamblers is rudimentary in a number of states (24 cents per capita) and absent in 10 who provide no public funds for problem gambling prevention or treatment.  

“As the only NGO who provides national PG services we have a critical role to play in filling those gaps but we will need a lot more support to do so effectively.”

Before concluding with how the NCPG and stakeholders across the various states can work with each other: Fortunately we have state affiliate chapters in 33 states, so they will be the direct resource provider in those areas.  

“NCPG has to help fill the gaps in the other 17 states plus our various overseas territories.  Even in the states where we have an affiliate chapter there are still a lot of needs.”