The Responsible Gambling Collaborative (RG Collaborative) is set to unveil new effectiveness principles for fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling, as well as a state-by-state study on the allocation of responsible gambling funding.

The announcement will be made tomorrow, January 11, in coordination with the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) Winter Meeting.

The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles, which provide a framework and recommendations for preventing problem gambling and promoting responsible gambling solutions, represent a first-ever attempt within the US to create a consensus statement endorsed by academics, researchers, advocacy groups, and casino gaming industry organizations.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said: “The Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles are meant to spark discussion, encourage collaboration, and generate new insights into this critical area. We encourage all stakeholders – policymakers, regulators, advocates, researchers, and industry – to build upon these fundamental principles, inserting evidence-based activities and regulations that support safe, responsible gambling.”

The new set of principles aims to support funding for research and evaluation; support funding for problem gambling treatment; help patrons make informed choices about their gambling; and ensure every company has a responsible gambling plan and industry employees understand their role and responsibility in fostering responsible gambling and preventing problem gambling behavior.

They also set out to confirm that gambling-related business practices encourage responsible gambling and equip consumers with the tools they need to gamble responsibly and prevent problem gambling behavior.

Directly supportive of the first and second principles, the RG Collaborative conducted a study to better understand whether funding allocated for responsible gambling and problem gambling from states’ gaming tax proceeds are appropriately spent as they are designated. 

The analysis showed states’ handling of RG/PG tax funding fell broadly into three categories in the most recently examined fiscal years. Six states (IN, MD, NJ, NV, NY, PA) likely spent the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues. Four states (KS, LA, MO, OK) likely did not spend the allocated tax money on RG/PG issues.

For a further four states (CA, IA, MS, OH) the outcomes are unclear. In these cases, funds may be partially diverted to other issues, the state has recently rolled back the dedicated funding streams for RG/PG altogether, or never had a dedicated funding stream.

“While much has been achieved in addressing problem gambling, the Responsible Gambling Collaborative aspires to make even greater strides toward smarter policies and better practices,” said Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow – responsible gaming at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – International Gaming Institute. “As states are one of the main beneficiaries of gaming revenue, it is essential that designated funding for responsible gambling is used for its intended purpose.”

Among a long list of RG Collaborative participants is the American Gaming Association (AGA). Its President and CEO Bill Miller commented: “I can think of no better way to lead our industry into a new decade than renewing our commitment to effectively promote responsible gaming and tackle problem gambling head on. 

“The Responsible Gambling Collaborative has an important role to play as we chart a new course for responsible gaming, and the AGA is proud to be a part of it. The research released today provides important insight into the allocation of funding for essential programs. As the top benefactor of gaming taxes, it’s troubling to see that state responsible gaming funds are not always used for their intended purpose.”