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Gaming Control Board Issues Guidelines For March Madness Betting

State leaders want bettors to wager responsibly on the massive betting event this month




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With Michigan State in good shape for a berth and University of Michigan still fighting to get in, March Madness should generate plenty of betting interest in the Wolverine State. But the Michigan Gaming Control Board wants the state’s bettors to enter the fray responsibly.

The MGCB sent out a series of guidelines Wednesday to help bettors avoid getting in too deep. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, with the National Council on Problem Gambling picking the month in large part due to the betting pull of the NCAA basketball tournaments.

“You may be caught up in the excitement of the gaming or sporting event, but don’t forget to bet responsibly,” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director, in a press release. “Gambling should be for entertainment, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of meeting your personal or family needs and obligations.”

Among the recommendations from the board: Set budget and time limits; gamble no more than four days a month or once a week; limit the types of games you play regularly; make sure you understand the rules of each bet; take breaks from thinking about the money or time you’ve spent gambling; gamble no more than 1% of household income monthly; and avoid gambling if you’re upset or in recovery from another addiction.

Michigan launched legal mobile sports betting in January 2021.

Self-exclusion plans available for problem gamblers

Last year, the American Gaming Association estimated that 45 million people would bet about $3.1 billion nationally on the NCAA Tournament through bracket pools and wagers with sportsbooks and friends.

For those whose needs stretch beyond the board’s guidelines, the MGCB also offers two self-exclusion options: Gamblers may place themselves in the Responsible Gaming Database and can choose complete exclusion for one or five years, or they can sign up for the Disassociated Persons List, which prohibits them from visiting the three Detroit casinos for a minimum of five years.

Operators also offer their own self-exclusion programs.

Those with questions can call the 24-hour toll-free helpline at 1-800-270-7117 or visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

Photo: Matthew Holst/Getty Images