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The Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA) has been formed by seven major gaming companies in the United States in a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at promoting responsible gaming and sharing information about problem gamblers. The founding members of ROGA include FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Penn Entertainment, Fanatics Betting & Gaming, Hard Rock Digital, and bet365, accounting for more than 85% of the legal online betting market in the country. Collectively, they have committed over $20 million to fund ROGA’s initiatives. The association aims to emphasize education, responsible gaming best practices, conscientious advertising and marketing, and establishing an independent clearinghouse for sharing consumer protection information.

The rapid growth of sports betting, both online and in retail outlets, across the United States since 2018 has led to a surge in the number of Americans participating in gambling activities. However, along with this growth comes concerns related to problem gambling, betting scandals, and risks to the integrity of sports. Recent incidents involving high-profile athletes like Shohei Ohtani and Jontay Porter facing allegations of involvement in betting scandals highlight the need for greater accountability and responsible gaming practices within the industry. The potential negative consequences of unchecked gambling expansion on both individuals and sports integrity have become apparent, necessitating proactive measures to address these issues.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated 2 million U.S. adults have a severe gambling problem, while another 5 to 8 million have mild to moderate gambling issues. In response to the rising concerns around problem gambling, regulatory crackdowns in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, have led to changes in how sportsbooks operate and the ways they conduct business. In the U.S., there have been efforts to encourage self-regulation within the industry to avoid stricter regulatory measures. U.S. Representative Paul Tonko is introducing legislation to regulate gambling advertising, set deposit limits, and address the use of artificial intelligence by operators to acquire customers, citing gambling addiction as a public health crisis.

While some gambling insiders are skeptical about ROGA, viewing it as a marketing ploy to address public relations concerns, others see it as a step towards implementing responsible gaming practices. Companies like Caesars, which is not part of ROGA, emphasize their own responsible gaming approach and focus on ensuring that their operations are geared towards individuals aged 21 and older. However, the industry recognizes the importance of safeguarding younger and vulnerable customers, as seen in initiatives like the agreement launched by the American Gaming Association to protect college-aged students from sports betting marketing and advertising. Providing customer protections and promoting responsible gaming practices are seen as essential components of good business in the gambling industry.

Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter, the parent company of FanDuel, underscores the importance of collaboration among legal operators to enhance responsible gambling efforts while acknowledging the persistent threat posed by illegal gambling operators targeting problem gamblers. Jackson urges state regulators to crack down on black market operators and support legal entities in their responsible gaming initiatives. As the gaming industry continues to evolve and expand in the United States, addressing issues related to problem gambling, ensuring the integrity of sports, and promoting responsible gaming practices are critical priorities for industry stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers. The formation of ROGA represents a significant step towards addressing these challenges and fostering a more sustainable and accountable gambling environment in the country.

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