Bettor Safe Educates Pennsylvanians On Sportsbook Regulation

Posted By Katie Kohler on March 3, 2021 - Last Updated on March 9, 2021

 “Don’t trust everything you see. Even salt looks like sugar.

The same warning should apply for regulated and unregulated betting sites.

Pennsylvania is home to 12 regulated online sportsbooks. However, 75% of Pennsylvanians in a recent survey could not differentiate legal and illegal betting sites.

The mix-up can have worse outcomes than adding a cup of salt to a cake recipe. Regulated sports betting apps offer users more safety, easier payment processing and higher responsible gambling safeguards than offshore sportsbooks.

To help educate consumers about the risk of illegal betting sites and improve their understanding of online sports betting, Conscious Gaming launched  “Bettor Safe.” The national campaign aims to educate consumers about the risks of betting on illegal websites. And conversely, it will share benefits of legal and regulated gaming options.

The campaign’s arrival comes with two state-specific initiatives: Bettor Safe Pennsylvania and  Bettor Safe New Jersey. Its goal is to have a presence in additional states soon.

Most don’t know regulated from unregulated sportsbook

Fifteen states, including Pennsylvania, have some form of legal online betting. In Pennsylvania, there are regulated sites for iGaming, sports betting and poker.

Data points to customers being confused about the legitimacy about online betting sites.

A recent survey conducted by Conscious Gaming on behalf of the Bettor Safe campaign polled more than 500 adults in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on their online betting habits.  GeoComply, which provides geolocation services to online sportsbooks and casinos, created the independent non-profit Conscious Gaming.

The Pennsylvania survey revealed:

  •  75% of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents could not, or are not sure, if they could differentiate a legal betting site from an illegal website.
  • 45% who have placed a bet say that they are only betting on legal websites in Pennsylvania following legalization.
  • More than 30% are unaware if online betting is legal in their state or responded that it was not legal.
  • 42%  overwhelmingly cite “safety and security” as most important to them.

The American Gaming Association conducted a survey on sports betting consumer behavior that showed bettors are “increasingly” choosing legal sportsbooks over illegal operators. But 55% of consumers who placed most of their wagers with illegal operators reported that they believed they were betting legally.

Bettor Safe aims to inform

Bettor Safe leverages a multi-channel approach to reach consumers through advertisements, videos, an informational website and state-specific resources. The purpose of the content is to empower individuals to know where online betting is legal and distinguish between regulated and unregulated sites.

Conscious Gaming VP of Corporate Social Responsibility & Communications, Seth Palansky said:

“Bettor Safe underscores Conscious Gaming’s commitment to consumer protection and safety by directly educating individuals about the risks of unregulated online betting. This campaign comes at a pivotal moment when American sports fans are gearing up for the NCAA basketball tournament amid a pandemic that continues to push individuals online. Now more than ever we must educate consumers and equip them with the tools to make more informed decisions about online betting.”

Reasons to wager at legal sportsbooks instead of offshore

Some benefits of wagering at regulated online casinos and sportsbooks in PA include:

  • Safety: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulates and licenses online casinos in sportsbooks in PA. Offshore sites do not have nearly the same oversight, leaving you little recourse or help if your money is missing.
  • Deposit/withdraw methods: What seems safer? Wiring money to an offshore account or using PayPal, Visa or Mastercard credit cards? PA’s legal casinos and sportsbooks have various safe and secure withdraw.
  • Responsible gambling: Legal sportsbooks have various safeguards to prevent underage gambling. In addition, they have features for responsible gambling like deposit limits, cool-off periods, and self-exclusion.
  • User experience: Regulated sportsbooks are much more user-friendly.
  • Promotions and bonuses: Because legal sportsbooks are in a competitive market, they offer better sign-up offers and promotions.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole commented:

“Educating Pennsylvanians about the security and safety advantages of legal online betting is critical. Approved operators in Pennsylvania have been vetted and they meet high regulatory standards which permits consumers to wager on legal sites with the confidence that their funds and identity are secure and that regulated websites will be responsible and accountable. The Bettor Safe campaign is an important resource to empower consumers to identify and use these regulated sites in Pennsylvania.”

Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and also the start of NCAA basketball’s March Madness. Bettor Safe hopes to equip people with resources to be able to identify legal, regulated websites. In addition to Bettor Safe, in September 2020, Conscious Gaming launched PlayPause to help the gaming industry manage self-exclusion and impermissible bettor programs.

The North American Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA) released a statement in support of Bettor Safe.

“The regulator community sees, firsthand, the risks that illegal gambling present to consumers and state governments. We cannot cede the established rules and safeguards of regulated internet gaming to offshore websites that have zero accountability. NAGRA is pleased to support Bettor Safe and we encourage all stakeholders to rally behind this campaign to educate consumers and stamp out unregulated internet gambling.”

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She is the Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania and covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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