‘Gamble On’ 210 Highlights: California Tribes And Mobile Operators Playing Thelma & Louise

Podcast features Massachusetts muck-ups, New Jersey newcomers, and a chat with Cait DeBaun
car off cliff
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Over the course of more than four years and 200 episodes, Gamble On has established itself as the leading gaming industry podcast, delivering news and analysis as well as interviews with the most influential names in gambling every week.

Episode 210, posted Sept. 22, 2022, features an interview with American Gaming Association Vice President of Strategic Communications & Responsibility Cait DeBaun. September has marked the first-ever AGA Responsible Gaming Education Month — a significant expansion over past years, in which a single week, rather than a full month, has been devoted to this topic.

“Our commitment has grown around consumer education and employee education and instilling a culture of responsibility among our member organizations,” DeBaun said of the decision to give RG education a full month of focus.

Listen to “210: Massachusetts mix-up, Sporttrade and Mojo launch, RG education with AGA’s Cait DeBaun” on Spreaker.

DeBaun’s money quotes

It may seem counterintuitive to some, but DeBaun feels access to mobile apps leads to a higher portion of gambling being done responsibly. With online gaming, she said, “We lose that anonymity. If I go online to bet, any operator knows who I am and they know what I’m doing with their platform. So it gives the ability to empower players with self-limiting tools — deposit limits, budget limits, time limits. And it also provides operators more insight into behavior. Is there risky behavior happening? Unusual behavior?”

DeBaun on a national problem gambling helpline vs. a wide array of phone numbers in different states: “We don’t want anybody who is at a place where they’re seeking help to wonder, Do I call the number of where I live? Do I call the number of where I’m gambling? … [A series of state-by-state helplines] becomes this number soup. And it makes it so the font is really small and not actually an effective resource.”

DeBaun on monitoring theoretically “dangerous” forms of online gambling, such as rapid-fire in-game sports betting, rather than moving to ban them: “Responsibility is always at the forefront, but at the same time, we need to understand … what is the best player experience that still provides responsible measures? And that means we want to make sure we keep folks in the legal market. Because, say you just decide to get rid of a type of bet, or you put in some really strict restriction on how to bet. That doesn’t mean people aren’t going to bet. They’re just going to go [offshore].”

Gamble rambles

  • Podcast hosts Eric Raskin and John Brennan analyzed how a sloppily crafted and/or worded element of the Massachusetts sports betting licensing regulations could cause major headaches and slow down the launch timeline, with both agreeing they don’t expect the Bay State to have sports wagering before the end of the calendar year. Brennan advised, “Always expect the worst when it comes to states meeting sports betting launches — or, some argue, with anything in life — and you’ll never be disappointed.” Raskin lamented how frustrating it is that “a dumb rule that nobody thought through can’t just be quickly fixed and reworded, even if everyone agrees it needs to be.”
  • Two new and decidedly unique sports gambling operators have launched in New Jersey: Sporttrade and Mojo. The latter is particularly innovative, allowing customers to buy stock in an NFL player and sell at any time. “Mojo strikes me as weird as hell, investing in a player,” Raskin said. “It’s so strange. It kind of feels like a grind rather than a thrilling sweat. But, it’s something different. I won’t know if I like it until I try it.”
  • The latest polling suggests the two sports betting measures on the November ballot in California are a longshot to get the votes they need, and amateur bookmaker Raskin labeled them about 10/1 underdogs. Brennan noted how the advertising battles between backers of Propositions 26 and 27 have hurt both causes, and he compared the Cali tribes and the mobile giants to (spoiler warning!) movie characters Thelma and Louise “going off the cliff together.”
  • Closing thoughts: Brennan wrapped up the podcast with the conclusion of his two-week saga betting 100 times his typical, comfortable amount on a single game. “The fact that I won money and I still was miserable,” he said, “I think is worth understanding.”

Photo: Shutterstock

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