March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. IGT is proud to support the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) as they help educate, prevent, and raise awareness about problem gambling.
While it affects a small percentage of the population, gambling addiction is a complex social issue. Lotteries recognize that to preserve their hard-won trust in the communities they serve, and to grow their programs through new technology, they need to marry innovation and promotion with a sound approach to social responsibility and problem gambling prevention.
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), sponsored by the National Council on Problem Gambling and proudly supported by IGT. The campaign strives to educate the industry and the public about the availability of tools to help prevent and raise awareness about problem gambling.
Given lotteries’ vital role in Responsible Gaming (RG) and problem gambling prevention, it’s critical for their suppliers to work with RG researchers, advocacy groups, and subject matter experts to develop tools that lotteries can deploy to help players understand how gambling works, manage their own behavior, recognize problematic patterns early, and find help when they need it.
Operators’ products and services must comply with each region’s regulations, and fulfill 100 percent of their own RG rules and requirements. But operators can go beyond regulations and requirements by offering additional RG features to their players. For example, lottery points-of-sale products are capable of reading identification cards containing a bar code, such as a driver’s license. This provides lottery operators with reliable age-verification technology to prevent underage gambling.
For lotteries developing interactive programs, player protection tools can provide operators with baseline features and functionalities they can deploy across all web-based channels, whether in the front-end portal or in the app. Using these features, lotteries can empower players to:
- Self-exclude or time-out from a gaming site
- Set their daily, weekly and monthly game limits to help control their online behavior
- Learn about popular myths and misconceptions related to gambling, ensuring everyone has easy access to the facts
- Take a gambling risk test — a self-assessment tool that helps players identify their approach to gambling
For lotteries with VLT programs, IGT’s RG technology is the most comprehensive in the machine gaming sector. Depending on its needs, the lottery can activate or deactivate all RG features within our solution. These include time and money limits, which players can determine by session, date, week, or month.
The player education component is a key strength of RG features for VLTs. Players can evaluate their gaming behavior using a gambling risk test based on a recognized screening tool. In addition, they can take a gaming tutorial with valuable information about gambling. Players can also view spending predictions and their play history to evaluate their behavior.
Whether voluntary or driven by regulations, RG and problem gambling prevention are essential aspects of every reputable lottery’s program. For lotteries, responsibility and growth cannot be mutually exclusive. When applied according to best practices, RG solutions promote, rather than inhibit, responsible play by helping players make informed decisions about their playing behavior.