The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is about to hold a regional conference, which will serve as a premier forum to bring together main industry figures and gambling authorities. The event will be hosted by AC Hotel Worcester, with a capacity of approximately 200 people, and will take place on May 14.
Among the conference attendants will be various industry stakeholders and the Northeast Council on Problem Gambling, which includes Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
With a primary focus on responsible gambling practices, industry participants will share insight and discuss their evolution through the years. The gambling regulator has accumulated a wealth of industry data on the subject over the last decade and seeks to raise awareness of responsible gambling tools and practices in the context of the constantly evolving gambling environment.
Mark Vander Linden, Director of Research and Responsible Gaming at the MGC, underlined the importance of “knowledge mobilization” and responsible gambling tools’ utilization among players. He commented that the gambling landscape in Massachusetts has dramatically changed over the last decade and that the commission’s research findings reflect those changes. He further noted that the conference’s goal was to spread this information effectively among industry participants and “rewrite the playbook” based on the findings. In other words, the research data could be used for the implementation of better RG practices.
Gamblers Who Use RG Tools Report Fewer Losses
Retail wagering in Massachusetts went live on January 31, 2023, followed by online wagering’s launch on March 10. It has been almost a year since the industry’s legalization and as it matures, the regulator has realized the need to raise better awareness of RG tools among players. The MGC aims to encourage more players to utilize them while gambling.
The RG tools’ spectrum includes various gambling limits on the amounts and time spent wagering, as well as different self-exclusion options.
Cathy Judd-Stein, Chair of the MGC, commented in November last year, that RG tools were “critical to this particular commission” and that its head of research and responsible gaming “has been concerned that the bettors are just not utilizing them”.
Commissioners are determined to remove the stigma from responsible gambling and convince bettors that utilizing RG tools helps them stay in better control of their gambling.
According to data from the statewide Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program, which was implemented by the MGC in March 2023, approximately 2,300 gamblers have opted to self-exclude themselves from casino gaming, betting, or both for a predetermined amount of time. Some 33% later requested to be removed from the program, resulting in 1,573 active members, as of December 2023.
As mentioned in one of the MGC’s reports, the findings of a 2018 study indicated that gamblers who have utilized self-exclusion tools at some point in their gambling, improve their responsible gambling habits and suffer fewer losses.