According to a report from GameSense, the Massachusetts voluntary self-exclusion program saw a 12% increase during the 2022-23 fiscal year. The self-exclusion list is a staple of responsible gaming protocols nationwide, including in Massachusetts.
The 2022-23 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2022, and ended on Sept. 30, 2023. During that time, there were 54 more sign-ups than the same timeframe a year earlier. Those 54 problem gamblers represented a 12% increase.
In the 2021-22 fiscal year, 436 patrons used the program. On the other hand, 490 did so in the recent period.
What is self-exclusion in Massachusetts?
Voluntary self-exclusion is a statewide program. It enables casino patrons to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling in that state’s casinos.
The Commonwealth contracts GameSense to provide responsible gambling resources for the state citizens. Furthermore, they monitor the monitor usage of programs designed to assist consumers.
The consumer can also choose to exclude from sports betting. The program allows participants to exclude themselves for a predetermined period or permanently.
The 12% increase in enrollment in voluntary self-exclusion may not necessarily represent a troubling rise in problem gambling.
The state, led by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, has increased its emphasis on responsible gambling. Thus, more citizens could be aware of that tool than in the past. In addition, the state’s sports betting launch in March may have also led to an elevated awareness of the self-exclusionary program.
More than 11,000 enrolled in PlayMyWay program
The state’s Telephone Recovery Support system, which enables gamblers to call a toll-free number and seek subsequent advice or support, assisted 44 consumers in FY 2023.
GameSense used education programs to spread the word on responsible gambling: according to the MGC, GameSense held “more than 580” LiveChat sessions at its website, GameSenseMA.com.
The company reported a 42% increase in interactions with patrons (either by chat, phone, or email) during the FY 2023 term.
Another responsible gaming program, PlayMyWay, reported a 264% increase. PMW offers a budgeting tool for citizens to use if they feel they need assistance in taking control of their casino and other betting spending.
That tool is available to patrons in the state’s three casinos. The PMW now reports 11,549 enrollees. In the last fiscal year, the PMW program was unveiled for the first time at Encore Boston Harbor, which was responsible for 6,200 of the new enrollments.
GameSense made the annual report to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission earlier this month. The commission regulates and oversees licensing for casinos, sportsbooks, and the lottery.
The three Massachusetts casinos are required to offer responsible gaming programs. Additionally, they must provide access to a self-exclusionary list. The same is mandated for retail and online sportsbooks.
The increase in the use of responsible gaming programs parallels the steady increase in casino gaming revenue.
Massachusetts casinos accounted for more than $317 million in taxes to the commonwealth in FY 2023, according to the MGC. A recent study by the American Gaming Association revealed that the three casinos in Massachusetts made up 2.35% of US commercial casino revenue in 2022.