A new report by a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting gambling addiction found that Michigan isn’t doing enough to protect some of its most vulnerable bettors.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) said in a report released Tuesday that Michigan is one of four states that offer iGaming — defined in the NCPG report as online gambling other than sports betting — in the U.S. that “fall drastically short of NCPG’s minimum responsible gambling standards.” The other three states that came up shy are Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia.
The only other states that offer legal iGaming are New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, though others – including New York – have had discussions about legalizing it in recent months.
The council said New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania met most of its standards, but still fell short on others. Many gambling addiction experts consider iGaming — commonly referred to in some quarters as iCasino, in which bettors can wager on Las Vegas-style table games and slots — to be among the most addictive forms of gambling, since it is often available around the clock.
The NCPG, in conjunction with VIXIO GamblingCompliance, compared each state’s regulations against its Internet Responsible Gambling Standards to determine which had adequate safeguards in place. It first developed its set of standards in 2012, but said it had received regular updates from operators in each of the states that offer iGaming and kept up with emerging trends.
“NCPG recommends every state with iGaming or those looking to legalize iGaming adopt the IRGS standards to best protect consumers from the negative consequences of gambling,” the NCPG said in its report.
Michigan among worst performers in nation
Michigan fell short, according to the report, on two of the four policies the NCPG recommends: “strategy for responsible gambling” and “annual evaluation and progress reporting.” It also got low marks for staff training in problem gambling and in five of the 12 categories under “supporting informed decision-making by players.”
On the positive side, the report gave Michigan high marks for its efforts to stop underage gambling.
Michigan’s regulatory structure requires iGaming platforms to be partnered with a federally recognized Indian tribe or one of Detroit’s three commercial land-based casinos.
The NCPG is based in Washington, D.C., and offers a 24-hour problem gambling helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER or via www.1800gamblerchat.org.