There was no “A” for effort for West Virginia online casinos. West Virginia certainly didn’t shine in the internet gambling rankings in the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) recently released 2022 report.
Finding three other states below par as well, the US Online Responsible Gaming Regulations: An Evaluation Against National Council on Problem Gambling Standards report called out the Mountain State for not meeting the NCPG’s minimum responsibility standards for online gambling.
In brief, the NCPG found that four states don’t require online gaming regulators to offer enough protection to internet gamblers. Along with West Virginia, these states also failed to acceptably meet NCPG Internet Responsible Gambling Standards (IRGS):
These three remaining states that offer online casinos, however, do offer adequate protection, according to the NCPG:
- New Jersey
The NCPG created the IRGS in 2012 to offer guidelines for deterring problem gaming. The organization regularly updates the IRGS as online gaming evolves. In the NCPG’s own words:
“IRGS sets the standard for consumers to ensure whichever operator they choose, they can be confident that the platform has the responsible gambling tools necessary to assist in playing safely.”
West Virginia online casinos report card
The NCPG report looked at 59 indicators. The standards evaluated in the report include:
- Staff training
- Informed decision-making
- Player assistance
- Advertising and promotion
- Game and website features
The NCPG report found that West Virginia has a policy commitment to responsible gambling but lacks in strategy. The state does provide annual staff training, including corporate training.
When it comes to supporting informed decision-making by players, the Mountain State provides players with safer gambling information and access to individual responsible gambling data. Also, the state checked all the NCPG boxes regarding underage gambling prevention measures.
It came up short, though, in the areas of providing information about the risks of gambling, the signs of a problem, and limit setting, although it does enable patrons to set financial transaction limits.
The NCPG report also found that West Virginia did not supply players with information regarding “myths associated with [the] applicable game.” But West Virginia did get good marks in some areas, including:
- Checking self-exclusion lists at registration
- Alerting players when gaming deposit thresholds have been met
- Enabling player timeouts
- Time/spend limits
How can West Virginia regulators improve online gambling safety measures?
West Virginia’s legislature passed the West Virginia Interactive Wagering Act in 2019. DraftKings WV launched online in the state the next year. Most recently, Play’n Go joined the Mountain State roster.
The NCPG cannot legally mandate that operators or states meet its IRGS standards, but the organization is stressing that public health funding needs to take a front seat when it comes to handling problem gambling. And SBC Americas believes that legislators want the public to view them in a positive light when it comes to taking measures to mitigate the problem.
The NCPG hopes for more cooperation. An NCPG statement read,
“NCPG recommends every state with iGaming or those looking to legalize iGaming adopt the IRGS standards to best protect consumers from the negative consequences of gambling.”
Whether West Virginia will step it up, of course, remains to be seen. Unfortunately, this is the second time in under a year that the state has gotten a bad report card when it comes to problem gambling. This past April, the Mountain State ranked as the ninth most gambling-addicted state, according to WalletHub.
And according to the Problem Gambling Help Network of WV, in 2021, “The overwhelming majority of callers who reported gambling on sports were doing so online.” Online sports betting ranked number two on the Network’s list of types of gambling cited by helpline callers.