New Technology Tied To Problem Gambling Aims For One-Stop Self-Exclusion Shopping

Pennsylvania sportsbook operators and the state gaming control board on Wednesday will be the first in the U.S. to roll out an innovative new self-exclusion option, according to a joint press release from the state agency and Conscious Gaming.

The technology, called “PlayPause,” will allow sports bettors to self-exclude across state lines, give operators more information about players in individual states, and streamline the administrative process for both operators and regulators.

PlayPause is free to operators and regulators through Conscious Gaming, a nonprofit created by geofencing company GeoComply.

“By integrating with this solution, the industry and regulators can increase well-being efforts and advance the effectiveness of self-exclusion,” said Elizabeth Lanza, director of compulsive and problem gambling for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, via the release.

The ultimate goal would be for all legal sports betting states to use the technology, which would then allow operators and regulators to more easily track those who have chosen to self-exclude across state lines, and would empower players to self-exclude for multiple states all at once without having to file in multiple jurisdictions.

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Online self exclusion will be available at any iGaming website

Those who sign onto the self-exclusion list using PlayPause in Pennsylvania will have the option to extend the exclusion to other states as they come online with PlayPause.

Players can currently self-exclude for casino, iGaming, VGT, and daily fantasy via the PGCB website. Players are not required to self-exclude for all types of gambling. They may choose, for example, to self-exclude for iGaming but continue wagering on daily fantasy contests. Players can also remove themselves from the self-exclusion lists via the PGCB website.

With PlayPause, bettors will be able to self-exclude by visiting an iGaming or sports betting digital platform or a state regulatory website. In the future, PlayPause aims to be available on iGaming and sports betting sites nationwide. It is currently only available for digital gambling in Pennsylvania and is not available at land-based gaming facilities.

“We are thrilled to see our vision for a national self-exclusion tool come to life with Pennsylvania’s PlayPause launch,” said Anna Sainsbury, Conscious Gaming trustee and GeoComply chairman and co-founder, in the press release. “We are looking forward to further collaboration with industry stakeholders to expand coverage and impact for this solution.”

Pennsylvania will be involved in studying the impact of iGaming on problem gambling through a grant to researchers from Penn State University. The researchers, using the grant funded by iGaming revenue, will interview up to 3,000 Pennsylvanians through June 2021 to determine how many participate in iGaming and if they are experiencing negative effects. The goal is to complete the survey annually.

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of U.S. states that allows for online casino-style gambling in addition to digital sports betting. Many national players, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PokerStars, and Unibet, offer iGaming in Pennsylvania. Operators began offering online gaming in July 2019.

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