Michigan’s online casino regulations have been called into question by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). The NCPG’s 2022 report states that Michigan’s online gambling regulations don’t meet the necessary standards and that online casinos and online sportsbooks in Michigan have failed to provide players with sufficient responsible gambling (RG) protections.
The NCPG focused on consumer protection regulations of states with legal online gambling against its Internet Responsible Gambling Standards (IRGS) and found that four of the seven legal online gambling states fall considerably short of NCPG’s minimum IRGS standards. Apart from Michigan, other states include Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia.
Fourth Place In Evaluation
The US Online Responsible Gaming Regulations: An Evaluation Against National Council on Problem Gambling Standards report provides a comprehensive assessment of how Michigan’s online gaming regulations stack up against the NCPG’s standards. Out of the 59 key standards across nine topics, the evaluation shows that Michigan has implemented 36 of the responsible gaming measures.
These put Michigan behind Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in fourth place among the seven states studied in the report, yet ahead of West Virginia, Delaware, and Nevada. It serves as an important reminder for states to stay vigilant and ensure adequate protections are put in place for entertainment gambling.
Michigan Received Low Marks For Responsible Gaming
Michigan scored highly for areas such as self-exclusion and supporting informed decision-making, yet was given low marks in four additional categories. More specifically, Michigan online casino operators did not adhere to the procedures in the following areas:
- Policy: Although meeting two out of four criteria is commendable, there are still opportunities to develop a responsible gambling strategy and conduct annual evaluations with progress reports.
- Staff Training: Ignoring two of the criteria, regulators failed to consider corporate policy and yearly instruction regarding responsible gambling.
- Advertising and promotion: Michigan failed to demonstrate a commitment toward responsible advertising, falling short of meeting one out of four criteria. Moreover, the state was unable to meet two other benchmarks: operators abstaining from marketing their products on responsible gambling pages and refraining from disseminating misleading information about game outcomes or odds.
- Research: Despite evaluation attempts through the research program, Michigan operators remain opaque about their play data for scholarly analysis and have failed to meet the two criteria.
A Comprehensive Public Health Strategy
NCPG experts argue that a comprehensive public health strategy is the most effective and ethical way to address problem gambling. This comprehensive RG (Responsible Gambling) strategy not only emphasizes prevention methods but also addresses other facets of addiction. These include education initiatives to empower individuals in managing their behavior around gambling, treatment programs to facilitate recovery, as well as research services that concentrate on furthering our knowledge surrounding responsible gambling practices. If implemented rigorously, such an approach has the potential and power to produce meaningful change within society.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) statement:
“The most ethical and cost-effective response to gambling addiction issues raised by internet gambling is a comprehensive public health strategy that includes prevention, education, treatment, and research services. Responsible gambling standards are an important aspect of this approach. 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.”