Responsible gambling has generated heated debates and conversations throughout the last few months. The more the gambling sector has expanded in terms of offerings and gaming operators, the more the number of people who suffer from gambling addiction rises. As the gaming industry grows so rapidly, many tools that are used for responsible gambling also have been developed.
Self-Exclusion as a Resource to Reduce Gambling Addiction
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) offers self-exclusion programs, which help people who suffer from gambling addiction, keep their distance from any time of wagering. These self-exclusion programs allow affected individuals to ban voluntarily themselves from casinos, internet-based gambling (iGaming), video gaming terminals (VGTs), and fantasy sports wagering. People who appear on the self-exclusion list are prohibited from receiving any winnings, recovering any losses, or accepting additional services or gifts from an operator or a licensee.
Gaming operators must avoid serving individuals who are self-excluded. Otherwise, the PGCB would seize their winnings.
Record Numbers of Self-Exclusions in 2022
In October, the PGCB released its 2021-2022 annual report, according to which the numbers in the self-exclusion list have been growing throughout the years and it is expected to mark new records in 2022.
The board did not report any self-exclusions related to internet–based gambling during the 2018/2019 fiscal year, because at that time iGaming had not launched yet. In 2019, PGCB started to track online casinos, VGTs, and fantasy contests.
Per the 2021-2022 annual report, the number of iGaming self-exclusions reached 2,295 in comparison with 1,041 for FY 2020/2021 and 231 for 2019/2020. When speaking about VGTs, the self-exclusions for FY 2021/2022 amount to 864 compared to 378 for FY 2020/2021 and 91 in FY 2019/2020. The fantasy contest self-exclusions reached 495 in FY 2021/2022 as opposed to 223 in FY 2020/2021 and 54 in FY 2019/2020.
When the gaming operators introduced online sportsbooks and online casinos in In June and July 2019, respectively, only a small number of offers existed. However, the gambling sector has grown rapidly, and currently, there are 14 online PA sports wagering applications and 18 PA online casinos, which offer a great variety of games to Pennsylvania residents.
PGCB to Raise Awareness About Harmful Gambling
The growth of the gambling industry leads to an increase in the number of self-exclusions. Thus, the PGCB has worked very hard and put effort into raising awareness of gambling addiction, responsible gambling, and the resources that are used in the fight against unhealthy gambling. The board updated its website by including tons of information concerning problem gambling, self-exclusions, phone numbers, and other ways that are used to help gamblers. The governmental agency also plans to include information on problem gambling in six different languages in order to reach anyone, who is affected by gambling addiction.
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