Bettors across the US will have access to the 1-800-GAMBLER problem gambling helpline for the next six years under a new deal announced last week.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) licensed the service mark from its owner, the Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), for use in all US states.
The new line will gradually replace the current help number (1-800-522-4700) over the coming months, though both will still work.
What is behind 1-800-GAMBLER move?
Responsible gambling advocates long have wanted to create a national helpline number. The current patchwork of phone numbers often reads like a disclaimer at the end of sportsbook advertising.
“Our goal is simple, to continue to make sure 1-800-GAMBLER provides aid to anyone who needs it as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Fred W. Hogan, CCGNJ board president. “We look forward to sharing our strength and experience.”
NCPG board president Maureen Greeley said the deal was a “vital step forward” in helping people deal with problem gambling issues.
NFL funding starting to take effect
The licensing deal was enabled in part by NFL funding. The NFL announced last year it was contributing around $6.2 million to NCPG.
That funding will also help the NCPG’s Modernization Project to improve call center technology, data collection, and reporting.
Growth in problem gambling
Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director, said the helpline had seen “exponential growth” since its inception in 1995.
“The Modernization Project will allow us to make significant improvements to the operations, technology and infrastructure of the network to keep up with the ever-growing need for problem gambling resources,” Whyte said.
Approximately 2% of the US population has a gambling problem, Whyte told the AP last year. That rises to 5% among those who have gambled within the last 12 months.
Sportsbooks are getting involved
Operators are also committing funds toward the issue.
In January, DraftKings announced it will provide funding to provide state responsible gaming councils across the US sports betting landscape with $15,000 a year for three years. Last month BetMGM said it was rolling out an AI tool that looks for changes in player behaviors. Major changes can trigger alerts that then prompt player communication.
BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt explained: “It is critical to ensure our players enjoy a sustainable and positive relationship with our leisure and entertainment offerings.”