As we continue our Responsible Gaming Education Month series, we look at legal, regulated gaming and its impact on consumer protection. Through September, the American Gaming Association and its members are helping to promote responsible gaming literacy and consumer education.
Regulations protect US gamblers
If there is one main takeaway from legal, regulated gambling, it’s defined in two words: consumer protections.
It’s this simple.
If you gamble with a regulated operator in the US, such as DraftKings or FanDuel, and one day you discover that your money is missing from your online account, you have a legal course of action. You could, in theory, hire a lawyer and prosecute DraftKings to get your money back.
But if you gamble with an illegal offshore website — whether for sports betting or online casino games — and log in to an empty account, well, you’re out of luck.
The extent of the US gambling law does not cover offshore sites. Thus, there is no legal help available.
This situation happened when several customers of an illegal offshore site discovered the entire website had disappeared inexplicably.
“The legal gaming industry’s priority is to provide players a safe, fun and responsible entertainment experience,” said Cait DeBaun, vice president of Strategic Communications & Responsibility for the AGA.
“This is in stark contrast to illegal and unregulated operators, which take advantage of players by offering no consumer protections or responsible gaming commitments.”
Consumer protections aside, illegal operators offer no checks and balances to help players gamble responsibly.
There are no self-exclusion lists, no gambling safeguards and no responsible gambling services. In an age where most gambling happens online, resources like these are necessary. DeBaun said:
“Today, we’re seeing the extension and strengthening of our decadeslong responsible leadership — born out of traditional gaming — to online formats.”
Know the difference between legal and illegal markets
In 2019, PlayUSA provided a guide on identifying white, black and gray markets. For a quick refresher:
- White gaming markets: Jurisdiction that expressly legalized online gambling
- Gray gaming markets: Lack of clearly defined laws
- Black gaming markets: Illegal markets
David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, further summarized black markets:
“Black markets are defined as jurisdictions where government authorities have taken affirmative, concrete actions to actively enforce that prohibit online gambling, or have issued unequivocal official pronouncements that online gambling is not legal in the jurisdiction.”
- Gray markets are where things get tricky, and the law permits a level of ambiguity.
With gray markets, the law doesn’t clearly state whether or not an activity is legal or illegal. A prime example is states where real-money fantasy sports are played, but there isn’t explicit regulation.
Regardless, customers need to understand that legal, regulated markets offer the best chance for users to gamble safely and responsibly.
Upcoming educational themes
As a reminder, the AGA will highlight notable themes with various AGA responsible gambling tools.
- Employees: The RG Front Line (Sept. 18-24)
- Webinar: The State of Responsible and Player Protections
- When: 2 p.m. EST Sept. 15
- Register here
- Advancing Responsible Gaming with Technology (Sept. 25-30)
- Webinar: Advancing Responsible Gaming through Collaboration and Technology
- When: 3 p.m. EST Sept. 27
- Register here
The AGA also encourages the use of #RGEM20222 from customers, operators, manufacturers, suppliers, media, leagues and advocates looking to join the conversation.