A frequent criticism leveled at gambling advertising is that the call to action for problem gamblers is garbled and confused. It would be easy to think that the gaming industry didn’t even want those numbers for gambling addiction lines on their ads at all, but that’s not the case. In a recent statement, the American Gaming Association called for significant reforms to how national problem gambling lines are presented on advertisements in an effort to make getting help a lot easier for gambling addicts.
The AGA points out that the current messaging is confusing and simply throws too much information out in a very short time span. In some instances, the AGA notes, an ad for a single casino can include a dozen different problem gambling line numbers. This repetition doesn’t reinforce the message, so much as garble it completely. They’re also calling for a major technological update to helping problem gamblers that’s more text and web-based, as opposed to the standard phone line.
AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil commented on the current system for presenting problem gambling helplines saying, ““Problem gambling helplines are a vital resource for those in need of help. Unfortunately, lengthy lists of state-specific helplines on national advertisements create barriers for those seeking help when we should be making these critical resources easily accessible. This approach—allowing the use of a national helpline in national advertising—is the most effective way to protect players.”
Feil went on to point out that though each state has its own requirements for posting helpline numbers, the massive expansion of regulated gambling in the US makes getting help to problem gamblers more important than ever.