Editor’s note: This article was updated on Dec. 22 with new PlayPause launch news.
GVC Holdings is rolling out detection technology — PlayPause — to enable the early identification of players who exhibit potential signs of problem gambling behaviors. That comes after GVC announced its Sustainability Charter earlier in November.
GVC works with BetMGM, which launched online gambling in Pennsylvania in December. The Isle of Man company, which is soon to be renamed Entain, became the first official partner of PlayPause, an initiative unveiled in September.
PlayPause and GVC are deploying a responsible gaming tool developed by the nonprofit Conscious Gaming, powered by geolocation company GeoComply.
The deployment of PlayPause begins on Wednesday, Dec. 23, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
This is the first deployment of PlayPause in the United States, available at no cost to operators and regulators via Conscious Gaming.
How PlayPause works
PlayPause is a sophisticated gaming exclusion tool. It allows players to self-impose restrictions that will extend to every state in which an operator is active. This is important since gambling regulation occurs at the state level in the US.
Every state with legalized online gambling has self-exclusion requirements for operators. Players can ask to join an exclusion list, distributed to all operators in the state. The player then cannot log in to any existing accounts or open any new ones. Self-exclusion can be either permanent or temporary.
But in places such as PA that border New Jersey, which also has online gambling, the ability to resume gambling can be just a short car ride away.
PlayPause allows players to exclude themselves from all of an operator’s sites. At least for now, the downside is that it does not prevent them from playing at other companies’ sites. That could change if more companies adopt the solution.
PlayPause also allows for a customized approach. A player who finds some games more addictive than others can self-exclude only from specific products, verticals or game categories. The tool also allows players to monitor their own habits.
Additionally, the American Gaming Association offers tips on responsibly playing. And state regulators also offer assistance for problem gambling.
GVC’s Roar Digital coming to PA
In the US, GVC’s operations consist of its own Partypoker and Party Casino brands, plus a joint venture with MGM Resorts International, which operates the BetMGM brand for online poker, casino and sports betting.
BetMGM is active in mobile sports betting in seven states with the recent addition of Pennsylvania.
As part of GVC’s Sustainability Charter, the company has committed to donating about $132 million over the next five years to support responsible gambling. A portion of that went to Conscious Gaming to secure official partner status as the first to launch the initiative.
The company is a member of the National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) President’s Circle.
The goal is for a safe gambling experience and a clean rep via PlayPause
GVC CEO Shay Sevev explained the partnership:
“We are delighted to be the first official partner of PlayPause. We believe the most responsible operator will be the most successful operator, and PlayPause’s innovative, multistate approach to responsible gaming in the US aligns with our firm commitment to providing our customers with the safest and most enjoyable experience possible.”
Elizabeth Lanza, director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling at the PGCB, has said:
“Pennsylvania is pleased to be at the forefront of a new responsible gaming tool, designed to strengthen consumer protection and take self-exclusion programs in a new direction.”
New name and new commitments
GVC is aiming for a clean reputation as it makes internal changes and rebrands with a new name.
- Exiting all unregulated gray markets, starting now and finishing by 2023
- Launching its own internal Advanced Responsibility & Care (ARC) program
- Tying executive bonuses to hitting responsible gambling targets
The commitments apply in Europe and the US.
Enlightened self-interest at work
Now, BetMGM is active in mobile sports betting in seven states, including PA. Meanwhile, Bet MGM poker in Michigan appears on the horizon for early 2021. Partypoker may come to those latter states as well.
Having PlayPause available from the outset should be a huge help as BetMGM and Party (GVC) expand into new markets. In that sense, the timing is perfect. It will also provide those brands with a unique selling point for those keen on gambling safely.
Adam Greenblatt, the CEO of BetMGM, addressed that while discussing the partnership:
“A multistate approach to responsible gaming is an important step for the industry and advances consumer protection in a meaningful way. We’re delighted to play a leading role in collaborating on this important and timely initiative.”
If GVC’s experiment with PlayPause is successful, its competitors could soon follow suit.