MA Regulators To Host Regional Responsible Gaming Conference This May

Written By Steve Schult on January 5, 2024 - Last Updated on January 7, 2024
A picture of a conference for a story about the regional responsible gaming conference the MGC will host in Worcester this May.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is set to host a regional conference to discuss the best responsible gaming practices to implement.

The conference will be titled ‘Using Research to Rewrite the Playbook: Examining the social impacts of sports betting and the changing landscape.’

Officials will host the inaugural event at the AC Marriott hotel in Worcester. The space has a 200-person capacity.

Conference to focus on spreading knowledge

At Thursday’s meeting, the MGC’s director of research and responsible gaming, Mark Vander Linden, updated the commissioners on the conference.

According to Vander Linden, the gambling landscape has changed drastically over the last decade. After vast research, he said it’s time to reveal their findings and decide how to implement better responsible gaming policies.

The Bay State launched brick-and-mortar sports betting just over a year ago. MA online sportsbooks were available in March 2023.

Vander Linden said sports betting will be a major focus of the conference. However, he added they will also focus on the changes in the larger gaming landscape.

Massachusetts hasn’t legalized online casinos yet. But several other states have, including its neighbor to the south, Connecticut. This conference could be one of the first steps in the legalization process.

“The nature of gambling over the last 10 years and in Massachusetts has really changed,” said Vander Linden. “We’ve created a lot of evidence that highlights what those changes are. How do we take that evidence and rewrite the playbook?”

Regulators from all over the northeast will be in attendance

Massachusetts officials invited members of the Northeast Council on Problem Gambling to the event. The council comprises industry stakeholders from Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and New York.

“Part of mobilizing our research is realizing there is a greater movement afoot in terms of how gaming is changing the landscape in the northeast,” Vander Linden said. “Adding these groups to the mix is really an effort to pair our research with what’s happening in the broader landscape.”

During an MGC meeting last year, commissioners raised concerns that only a tiny portion of sports bettors used the responsible gaming tools.

Despite the low enrollment numbers, Massachusetts has a reputation for being one of the stingiest states regarding gaming regulation.

Photo by PlayMA
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Steve Schult

The managing editor for PlayMA and several other Catena Media sites, Steve stays on top of all things related to the national gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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