US sportsbook giants form new Responsible Online Gaming Association

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Seven major U.S. sportsbooks have launched a united effort to tackle problem gambling.

The new Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA) will serve as an independent trade association focused on developing and implementing responsible gaming best practices in the most impactful way possible across the industry. The founding members are BetMGM, bet365, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, Hard Rock Digital and PENN Entertainment, a septet that ROGA says accounts for more than 85% of the legalized online sports betting and gaming industry in the U.S.

Initiatives from the association will include funding and supporting research, helping to lead both consumer-facing and industry-facing responsible gaming education and awareness and promoting responsible gaming best practices. It will also aim to create a database to facilitate information sharing in the industry as well as launch an independent certification program to evaluate members’ responsible gaming efforts.

ROGA will be led by Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Shatley, one of the world’s leading experts in responsible gaming (RG) who is the President of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling and Co-Chair of the Compliance Review Board for the American Gaming Association‘s Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering.

Shatley, whose primary role for ROGA will be to facilitate widespread education on the subject of responsible gaming, said in a release that she is honored to be selected to lead ROGA during an “important period of growth in legalized mobile gaming.”

“Many of America’s largest legal mobile gaming operators will be establishing a framework that helps to aid in responsible gaming education and awareness,” she added. “Together, our members will work alongside researchers, experts, regulators and stakeholders to promote responsible online gaming and maximize our efforts to support additional responsible gaming education and awareness.

“By coming together with a clear set of objectives, ROGA and our members will work to enhance consumer protections and help provide easier and more efficient access to responsible gaming tools for consumers to enjoy the entertainment of online gaming.”

Sportsbooks and states reinforcing RG efforts

Several of ROGA’s founding members have formed or strengthened their own responsible gaming partnerships in recent weeks.

Last week, DraftKings expanded its partnership with Kindbridge Behavioral Health to extend the Colorado pilot of its problem gambling treatment program into all of its U.S. jurisdictions plus the Canadian province of Ontario. Kindbridge also has similar joint efforts with the likes of BetMGM.

States and lawmakers are also making concerted efforts to address problem gambling.

New Jersey has launched a new responsible gaming public awareness campaign in Problem Gambling Awareness Month which focuses on online marketing in the gaming industry, while U.S. Rep Paul Tonko‘s proposed federal SAFE Bet Act seeks to prohibit advertising during live sporting events and ban promotions that offer bonus bets, odds boosts and other inducements. Variations of similar legislation have been proposed recently at the state level in jurisdictions such as Louisiana