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Last Wednesday, the Entain Foundation announced that it will provide a founding grant for a new betting and gaming research initiative at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
The Entain Foundation is a not-for-profit wing of the European online gambling giant Entain (formerly GVC). It created the foundation in 2019 with the goal of donating £100 million over five years to responsible gambling initiatives. It’s not clear exactly how much of that money is going to UNLV.
The goal of the new effort will be to research best practices for responsible gambling. These practices include both the approach of gambling operators themselves, and decision making at the level of public health policy.
It’ll be a joint effort, bringing together researchers at UNLV and experts from the industry.
Bo Bernard is UNLV’s Vice President of Economic Development, and the Executive Director of its International Gaming Institute. He described the initiative as vital:
For the first time in this field, this initiative brings vital academic research in the U.S. to the public domain in dozens of applied settings. We are actively moving beyond the traditional ‘research center,’ since this project will translate scientific research into actionable, operational programs that can be implemented in real venues by operators, regulators, legislators, clinicians, and other stakeholders.
Two days later, the Entain Foundation announced an additional partnership with the American Gaming Association (AGA). That initiative will see Entain’s new gambling education app, Gamble Responsibly America, featured on the AGA’s Have a Game Plan website.
It’s no coincidence that the foundation announced these efforts in rapid succession. Last week was Responsible Gaming Education Week in the US.
Entain isn’t the only organization calling for more research into responsible gambling, and for collaboration on the subject between the government, the private sector and academia.
Across the Atlantic, in Finland, Ålands Penningautomatförening aka Paf is doing good work in this regard. It’s a government-owned gambling operator with a two-pronged approach to social responsibility. On the one hand, its profits go to public causes through an independent allocation board. On the other, it uses its platform to conduct research on gamblers and their habits, and experiment with harm-reduction strategies. It then publishes this research.
At a recent Casino Beats Summit, three speakers – Richard Schuetz, Dr. Katherine Spilde and Steven Myers – spoke about the importance of establishing a network of gaming knowledge centers. As with Entain Foundation’s initiative, the immediate goal of these would be to establish best practices for regulators and the industry. Ultimately, it would be to strive for standardization of regulations between jurisdictions.
Dr. Spilde is the endowed chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University. The Casino Beats panel considers this the ideal place to begin building a network of knowledge centers in the US.
However, UNLV is also a likely candidate to want to join such a network, located as it is in the capital of the US gaming industry. Many future industry executives are studying there. Furthermore, its International Gaming Institute already conducts research along the lines of what the panelists have in mind.