As more and more states expand access to sports and online gambling — amid ever-advancing technology — the need for comprehensive compliance and consumer protection will be critical to minimizing the harm to gamblers.
Advanced technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides easier access to gambling options, as one can place their bets on the bus, on a lunch break or from their home, playing with little to no disruption. For those with a gambling problem, this could exacerbate the harms. However, on the flip side, with so much data being collected on the player (and information used by the operator for marketing purposes and to keep players engaged), there are opportunities to do more advanced player interventions if they appear to be exhibiting problem behavior. This means that as more gambling migrates to online platforms, regulators and operators can no longer turn a blind eye to customers who are not playing responsibly.
Gambler education is one key to reducing harm for those who gamble online. Bettor Safe (www.bettorsafe.org) is a new consumer education campaign designed to highlight the risks of illegal betting sites and provide consumers with resources to improve their understanding of online betting. Currently, online gambling and sports betting is not legal in Minnesota. This means that those engaging in these activities are being directed to offshore, unregulated sites. Bettor Safe points out the differences between regulated sites and unregulated sites. It is currently running campaigns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two early adopters of sports and online gambling.
Bettor Safe was developed by the founders of GEOComply, the iGaming industry’s go-to for reliable, accurate and precise geolocation services. GEOComply has been expanding its offering beyond its primary focus of geolocation into areas such as multi-state KYC (Know Your Customer) and digital ID verification, payment and fraud analytics, and responsible gaming. Bettor Safe is the first initiative of GEOComply’s Conscious Gaming, a separate nonprofit that is developing responsible gambling tools as a way of giving back to the industry.