Online gambling operators launch responsible betting organization

Online gambling operators launch responsible betting organization
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Seven of the United States' largest online betting operators have joined together to create the Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA), an organization committed to promoting "responsible online gaming by supporting independent research, promoting best practices, and driving consumer and industry education and awareness efforts."

The operators are BetMGM, bet365, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook, FanDuel, Hard Rock Interactive and Penn Entertainment (the parent company of ESPN BET).

ROGA's members have already pledged $20 million toward the organization's efforts in the first year, which will go toward initiatives such as funding academic research, developing an independent responsible gaming certification program for operators, and creating a database, via an independent clearinghouse, to facilitate information sharing for the purpose of enhancing consumer protections. The sports betting industry as a whole brought in $10.9 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) for 2023, according to the American Gaming Association.

The companies involved represent more than 85% of the legal online sports betting and iGaming market, per ROGA. Of the top 10 leading national online sportsbooks, according to the most recent GGR data from research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, Caesars and BetRivers are the only two not involved with the new organization. Caesars declined to comment for this story, while BetRivers did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Heading up the coalition in the role of executive director is Dr. Jennifer Shatley, an industry veteran who is president of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling. She sits on the National Council on Problem Gambling, and co-chairs the Compliance Review Board for the AGA's Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering.

"Together, our members will work alongside researchers, experts, regulators and stakeholders to promote responsible online gaming and maximize our efforts to support additional responsible gaming education and awareness," Shatley said in a statement. "By coming together with a clear set of objectives, ROGA and our members will work to enhance consumer protections and help provide easier and more efficient access to responsible gaming tools for consumers to enjoy the entertainment of online gaming."

ROGA announces its arrival during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, but also in the midst of several high-profile sports betting scandals involving problem gambling.

In March alone, a former Jacksonville Jaguars employee was sentenced to 6½ years in prison after stealing $22 million from the team to gamble, Shohei Ohtani accused his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, of stealing $4.5 million from him to bet, and the NBA opened an investigation into Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter over multiple irregularities surrounding his prop betting market.