With the spread of legal sports wagering in the United States, some industry organizations have made new commitments to promoting responsible gambling.
The American Gaming Association and MGM Resorts International both made six-figure pledges to the National Center for Responsible Gaming to study the effects of sports wagering across the United States.
With the Supreme Court striking down the federal prohibition on sports gambling a year ago, the number of states that have legalized sports betting has grown to 17.
In 2018, seven states took in more than $8 billion in legal wagers on sports. The AGA estimates that in 2020, 7 million sports bettors will make wagers in U.S. sportsbooks.
“It is important to support seminal scientific research in an emerging and rapidly expanding segment of the American gaming industry,” said NCRG senior research director Christine Reilly. “Because sports wagering was illegal outside of Nevada until only a year ago, we have an obligation to understand its impacts.”
The AGA and MGM topped a list of donors that includes William Hill U.S., GVC Holdings, IGT, Hard Rock International and NASCAR. Representatives from those entities took part in a panel discussion last week at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. In all, the NCRG took in more than $400,000 for the study.
“This effort is bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders who are committed to ensuring that as legal sports betting options grow, the field is given the care and study consumers deserve to support responsible, healthy gaming practices,” NCRG board chairman Alan Feldman said. “These generous contributions will allow the NCRG to conduct research independently and with integrity.”
The NCRG, which has taken in more than $40 million since its founding in 1996, will fund research by leading institutions on legalized — and regulated — sports wagering and what that means for public health. As many as 8 million Americans are at risk due to their wagering behavior, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.
The NCRG said it plans to release a letter of intent in February and begin accepting grants in the spring.