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Responsible gaming mobile app launches in US

A new mobile app designed to be an educational resource on safe gambling habits has launched in the U.S.

The Gamble Responsibly America app is billed as a first-in-the-U.S. resource for anyone seeking information on responsible gambling or insight into their own behavior, according to the Entain Foundation U.S., which launched the app Tuesday.

Users can take a self-assessment quiz to gauge their playing habits or potential risk of developing unhealthy behaviors, speak with a helpline specialist through a 24/7 live chat feature, keep track of their playing choices with a virtual diary and discover what limiting tools are available to help control their activities.

Additionally, the app functions as an “intermediary between the users and the services that provide the help that customer may need,” said Martin Lycka, an Entain Foundation U.S. trustee and the Entain company’s senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling.

The Entain foundation produced the app in partnership with U.K.-based Epic Risk Management and Las Vegas-based RG24Seven. The foundation is funded by U.K.-based betting company Entain.

Entain Holdings and MGM Resorts International jointly own BetMGM, a sports betting and online gaming platform in the U.S.

BetMGM will provide information about and a link to download the standalone Gamble Responsibly America app on its responsible gaming resource page, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The app is available for free on the App Store and the Google Play store. It is not branded, nor does it require any registration. That’s by design.

“We feel strongly that had (it been) branded, the app, it would actually have defeated its purpose,” Lycka said. It’s sole purpose is to educate and direct people to the help they may need.

The app launch immediately caught the attention of responsible gaming expert Alan Feldman. He downloaded the app the moment he learned about it, he said Friday.

“Good on them,” said Feldman, a distinguished fellow in responsible gaming at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. “It’s a great start, and we need to see a lot more of this kind of activity in the sports betting world generally or in the online betting world generally.”

The tools and information available in the app exist elsewhere in separate pieces. What differentiates the app is its consolidation of “everything that is known to be important” into a single, readily accessible place, he said.

“And that is a very impressive and significant moment,” Feldman said.

Feldman said he hopes to see whether user input could potentially provide a useful data sample for gambling habits and treatment efficacy research.

The app provides links and phone numbers to support groups, treatment options and National Center for Problem Gaming certified counselors. Lycka said the app itself is not a substitute for therapy or proper treatment, though it does help connect people with such help.

The Entain foundation’s view is that promoting responsible gambling habits is good for gamblers to safeguard themselves from the social or health consequences of problematic sports and online betting, Lycka said.

It’s also good for business, he said. The sports betting and online gaming industries should protect their customers. Otherwise, their long-term sustainability is at risk.

“The sooner, I believe, we get in to protect customers by means of providing them with all information they need, so that they can make considerate decisions about their gambling, the better,” Lycka said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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