It is a very exciting time in the US as expanded legal gambling options are coming to many states across the country. Since the Supreme Court voted in favor of ending the federal ban on sports betting, there has been a massive push to legalize the likes of sports betting, as well as online casinos.
People are now able to use safe platforms rather than having to resort to illegal offerings when they want to get their gambling fix. The US is unique as each state will be able to decide for itself what sort of gambling options it allows, as well as the rules and regulations for the sector. The idea behind this article is to look at how the topic of gambling addiction is handled in the US, as well as in the European market.
The UKGC and GamStop
The gambling scene in Europe is a lot more mature than what it has been in the US. Most forms of gambling have been legal across the continent for many years. Therefore, the rules and regulations are generally a lot more mature in these markets than what you see in the US. Perhaps the most stringent gambling market in Europe is in the UK.
There is a passionate base of gamblers in the country, with a wide array of different options being open to try. However, there is also a big emphasis by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on making sure that there is a safe gambling environment in place to protect at-risk people.
That’s why there are a lot of restrictions on the types of payment methods you can use, the size of bets, and the types of features games can showcase. GamStop is a non-profit group that works closely with the UKGC to promote responsible gambling. It is a free mass self-exclusion tool it allows problem gamblers to quickly exclude themselves from every single UKGC-licensed platform. Once the self-exclusion is in place. It is not reversible until the given time elapses.
How the SGA and GlüStV Work
The Swedish Gaming Authority (SGA) is also another regulator that has a reputation for being quite strict with its regulations to protect gamblers. For example, during the pandemic, it significantly capped the size of deposits that people could make in a week or month to an online casino account.
There is a self-exclusion offering called Spelpaus that is like GamStop and to even sign up for a gambling platform in the country, you need to showcase national ID, which will be linked to your account.
The German market has been developing more in recent times and it has a new form of self-exclusion offering in place that is called Oasis. It launched back in 2023, shortly after the regulated online market went live. Once again, it is a similar type of offering as GamStop, helping protect people who might be struggling with their gambling activity.
How MGA Casinos Work
Another commonly seen gambling regulator in the European market is the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). It is not as stringent as the likes of the UKGC or the SGA. You will often find a lot of general types of gambling platforms having a MA license when it is operating in European nations that do not have their own regulated market.
You won’t find any sort of mass self-exclusion program on offer by MGA, but there have been discussions about developing such a tool. Most individual operators that hold an MGA license will have access to different types of responsible gambling tools.
These will include having self-exclusion as an option for that individual platform, as well as deposit limits, session limits, and reality checks. These tools can help people to stop using a given platform excessively, but it will not cover other MGA-licensed sites.
There is a growing trend that has seen BTC casinos listed on sites like best-bitcoin-casinos.com coming to the fore. These are platforms that mainly cater to crypto-based deposits and withdrawals. There can be quite a mixed bag when it comes to the regulation of these sites. Some of them will hold an MGA license and offer an array of responsible gambling tools.
However, a large portion of them will have licenses with a looser regulator like the government of Curaçao or not have any sort of license at all. The best crypto casinos will usually have some sort of legit license, but it is something that you will need to make sure of when you are trying to find the top crypto casinos.
What Method of Regulation is Right for the United States?
Each US state takes its own approach to the regulation of the gambling sector and how they protect gamblers. Many of them now have self-exclusion programs in place for online platforms, which can help a lot. There is also a growing trend of major sportsbooks and leagues running public awareness campaigns about responsible gambling.
It is important that people are aware of the tools that they have at their disposal if they ever run into issues. As time goes on, states will likely tweak and change legislation depending on how their responsible gambling efforts are going.
A Tough Topic
Gambling addiction is an issue that has been around for a long time and doesn’t look like it will ever go away in its entirety. However, there are steps that regulators can take to potentially protect people.
The main question for the US authorities is where the balance lies between offering plenty of freedom to gamblers and to properly protect at-risk people. This is a question that is likely going to be answered as the US market grows and matures.