MGC expresses concern over low RG tool uptake

balance representing RG
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Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MCG) Chair Catherine Judd-Stein has expressed her concern that there is a low take up of responsible gambling tools from consumers in the state. 

Judd-Stein raised these concerns as operators reported their Q3 report to the commission, updating the regulator on its revenue and approach to other initiatives such as DEI, RG and lottery engagement. 

When DraftKings reported that fewer than 0.1% of users were using time limits, 2.3% used deposit limits, 0.13% used spending limits and 0.4% used wager limits, the regulatory Chairwoman was not happy and requested the operator work to improve those figures. 

Judd-Stein pleaded: “Our Director of Research of Responsible Gaming has been concerned that the patrons just are not utilizing them. 

“I really thank you for this slide because it speaks to that. Right. We can all think, collectively, as we move forward, how can we get our consumers in Massachusetts to really take advantage of these tools, and the only way I’ve been able to say it is to make them cool.

“It’s like using a ski helmet. If you’re a really great skier, you wear a ski helmet. You wear your helmet if you want to be a fast cyclist, you wear a helmet, and those are tools for protection. Whatever DraftKings can do with all of its influence to get the folks to use these, I know I would welcome it.”

In response, DraftKings’ Senior Director of Regulatory Operations, Jake List, pointed out that while the operator is aiming to destigmatize RG tools, those small percentages equate to thousands of individuals. 

List noted: “Looking at your percentages it perhaps immediately strikes you as low numbers, but we are talking about populations of hundreds of 1000s of users. So there are 1000s of people using these tools, even if among a total scope.”

Another point of contention in the quarterly operator meeting was that licensees reported single-digit or zero examples of minors betting. 

Commissioners were eager to know how operators can confidently identify these examples and how to tackle the “bad parenting” of allowing their children to bet using their own accounts. 

Caesars Digital Compliance Manager Curtis Lane Jr explained to the MGC that it is difficult to get concrete evidence of this happening but certain indicators, such as a sudden change in location or IP addresses, could hint at such an offence. 

DraftKings’ Lane did elaborate on advanced KYC tools that it uses to help determine when such an offence is committed: “We push you one through one of three advanced KYC methods which you need to complete and that includes a geo-compliant tool that we use, which essentially matches your phone device to see if it’s recognized from other types of things that you’ve signed up to so that we can recognize the device that you’re using to sign up to DraftKings.”

However, once all licensed operators had made their presentation, the discussion opened up to the rest of the commission. 

MGC Commissioner Jordan Maynard was particularly agitated by the low numbers reported from operators regarding underage betting activity, citing NCAA statistics that show betting is popular among young people nationally. 

He explained: “I’m just going to be honest, I don’t believe that the number is zero or single digits. 71% of 3527 people surveyed in the NCAA survey were either too young or could not gamble for the survey.

“I do believe the operators that they are doing everything that they can today to ensure that this is not happening, but I was interested in your question, Madam Chair, and really your point, which was, what else can we do? I just don’t believe it’s zero. 

“No one’s going to convince me it is zero or even single digits. Take a look at the NCAA survey of all those operators, you’ll see that it’s definitely happening. It’s happening in very high numbers.”