MGC Announces Responsible Gambling Conference Scheduled for May

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is organizing a spring conference aimed at refreshing responsible gambling policies in the state. The conference, scheduled for May 14 at the AC Marriott in Worcester, will bring together around 200 representatives from the Northeast Council on Problem Gambling and other industry stakeholders.

Mark Vander Linden, the MGC’s director of research and responsible gaming, explained that the purpose of the conference is to upgrade and refine “knowledge mobilization” by ensuring that research data reaches organizations and industry representatives who can use it to implement better responsible gambling practices and policies.

The MGC has been collecting relevant data and information over the last decade, and now they want to discuss the best solutions for transferring the results of the research into newer and better responsible gaming policies.

In another development, around 2,300 gamblers voluntarily excluded themselves from casino gambling, sports wagering, or both by signing up for the statewide Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (VSE) implemented by the MGC in March 2023. A significant number of individuals completed a reinstatement session to be removed from the program, resulting in 1,573 active members as of December 26, 2023.

According to a 2018 study, many individuals who kept gambling after using the self-exclusion option reported lower gambling frequency rates and fewer losses. The study also showed higher rates of gambling abstention after enrollment in the VSE program.

Commissioners have raised concerns about the small percentage of sports bettors who made use of responsible gambling tools since the official launch of legal betting in the Bay State a year ago. They are determined to hold a roundtable and come up with solutions for turning responsible gambling tools into a more appealing option for more players. The conference will discuss ways to make responsible gambling policies more effective and ensure that the commission’s research reaches those who can put it to use.