The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling (Mass. Council) strongly urges Governor Charlie Baker and the Mass. State Legislature to include safeguards in any sports gambling legislation against the potential negative consequences that may result.
The Mass. Council’s Executive Director Marlene Warner states, “Massachusetts is known as a leader in the field of responsible gambling and problem gambling services due to the number of safeguards that were implemented when casino gambling was passed. The Mass. Council would recommend that, similar to the 2011 Expanded Gaming Bill, any proposed sports gambling legislation include items that increase protective factors for players and minimize the potential harms. Gambling is not a risk-free activity and we have a state that loves to gamble; these recommended measures would go a long way to make sure that people can keep their gambling fun and entertaining. And, for those for whom gambling is a problem, we would like to provide a solid safety net to get them back to health.”
The safeguards recommended include:
Dedicated funds to provide for responsible gambling and problem gambling programs across the Commonwealth
Designated regulator, such as the Mass. Gaming Commission, so that they can further implement current responsible gambling and research initiatives to encompass sports betting
Required employee training for all brick-and-mortar and online staff of both host and vendor companies
Opportunities for voluntary self-exclusion and limit setting on time, losses, money in account
Baseline research prior to sports betting going live, ongoing research on gambling behavior, required evaluation of all responsible gambling programs, and requirement that all player data be anonymized and turned over to the regulator for future research
Required signage and promotion of Helpline number and online chat and text services
In-person and online interventions for loved ones and employers to implement
Minimum age of 21 to register and play
The Council reminds people that if they, or someone they know, may have a gambling addiction, they can call our 24-hour helpline at 800-426-1234 or chat with us on our website www.masscompulsivegambling.org. We understand the problem and we can help.
About the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling:
The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling offers programs to prevent problem gambling, connect the public with treatment and intervention services and support those in recovery. Among the services it provides is a 24-hour problem gambling support helpline, programs in schools, recovery services, and numerous other programs across the Commonwealth. The Mass. Council does not take a position in favor or against legalized gambling. Call 800-426-1234 with questions or concerns about your gambling.