Bill Pascrell: Responsible gaming biggest threat to industry if ignored

Issues surrounding responsible gaming and tackling problem gambling is the single biggest threat to the existence of the US gaming industry, according to Bill Pascrell, the leading gaming lobbyist. 

Speaking on the latest episode of the Martin Lycka Safe Bet Show, Pascrell outlined the existential threat to the industry if problem gambling is not directly addressed, adding that responsible gaming should be referred to as ‘sustainable gaming’. 

He remarked: “You know, I don’t think there’s a more important issue than the industry coming together because there is no real industry associations, but people have attempted to. For this reason, responsible gaming is the biggest threat, if ignored, to this industry.

“We don’t call it responsible gaming anymore. We call it sustainable gaming because without addressing problem gambling in a real way, not a one 800 number on the screen, which is B.S. It’s got to be more than that. 

“Somebody’s got to be on the other line to pick up the phone and counsel people and then also move them towards therapy and other, you know, you can’t cure alcoholism.”

Pascrell also offered his assessment of the landscape of the ever-increasing US sports betting industry, given he played a leading role in the legalization in many states. 

Currently, 30 states have legalized sports betting but Pascrell believes that number could reach the 40s in the coming years. 

Specifically, he revealed that officials in Texas are beginning to have talks about bringing forward a sports betting bill despite having tighter gambling laws. 

“Texas has no casinos. It’s got nothing other than a lottery and horse racing,” Pascrell added.

“Texas is starting to talk earnestly with the leagues and the teams that many great teams there to do a bill. The problem with Texas, and hopefully someday they’ll revisit this. It’s not my responsibility, though. It’s the Texas Constitution. They meet bi-annually, so the entire year of 22 March and we can be working there. But I think 30 states will soon be within two years close to 40 and change.”

Finally, Lycka and Pascrell discussed the online casino industry in the US, which has not experienced the same boom as sports betting has. Only six states have legalized and regulated online casino markets, with Pascrell arguing that online casinos do not come with the same buzz as sports betting. 

He concluded: “Sports betting excitement has taken a lot of air out of the room. So that’s the focus and I’ve always said the industry in America is changing now. But five years ago, brick and mortar casinos, and I love them all, could not walk and chew gum. They couldn’t handle multiple tasks or a multiple-pronged approach.

“We’re now seeing iterations, as you know, of different innovations. E-Sports, the entrance of cryptos and off tees and fixed-odds horse racing, which has been going on in other parts of the world like Europe for a long time. But we don’t have it here yet.”