Online sportsbooks deliver responsible gambling content differently; some do it better than others.
In advance of the launch of online sports betting in North Carolina, NCSharp evaluated the responsible gambling content at four top sportsbooks–FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars–to assess who delivers responsible gaming information most effectively.
We used both mobile and desktop sites to provide our evaluation, assessing both layouts to give an overall operator impression.
The main takeaway is the importance of the word “responsible.” We’ve seen that sportsbooks have provided various types of content, resources and tools, but those features are all for naught if users don’t take the time to educate themselves responsibly. This includes not just learning how to guard against gambling addiction. All four sportsbooks offer useful how-to information on different betting markets, so users can wager with a greater understanding of how the market works and what odds face them.
In short, whatever North Carolina online sports betting apps bettors choose to use, the RG pages represent required reading.
FanDuel Sportsbook: Best all-around
After touring all four books, FanDuel stood out most for its overall user experience.
Overall Impression: What we came to understand was that ease of access to important RG tools like limit setting and self-exclusion represented the most vital component of an operator’s RG page. That’s because these tools allow bettors to take the proactive steps necessary to protect their finances and mental health. FanDuel’s RG page on both mobile and desktop does this better than the rest. It provides a streamlined dropdown menu with all the necessary tools nested within. By limiting the number of clicks a user makes, FanDuel’s RG page lets you easily manage all limits and read all pertinent info in one place.
– Ease of access: all RG content, tools and informative resources, housed in one place.
– Widest variety of limit-setting tools of all sportsbooks.
– Dropdown list structure provides a clear roadmap of all RG information.
– Reality Check lets you check on your gambling in time chunks.
– Easy-to-follow videos for many of the tools and resources on the site.
– Responsible Gaming logo on main page of desktop site is small and easy to miss.
– No RG content on home screen of mobile app.
DraftKings Sportsbook: Most engaging tutorials
DraftKings offers some of the same tools as FanDuel though they’re not as easy to access nor as comprehensive.
Overall impression: What DraftKings does well is teach users how to play safely through engaging resources that include an RG quiz, catchy videos, a myth-busting presentation, and useful definitions. We spent about 20 minutes at dksaferplay.com, DraftKings’ safe play resource, and saw that DraftKings presented a range of useful resources in a range of formats. Understanding that people learn differently makes DraftKings’ RG resources very effective.
– Useful list of gambling tools (self-exclusion lists, limit setting for time and wagers).
– Engaging in-house responsible gambling informational page.
– Mobile app provides easy access to limit-setting tools.
– No menu or table at the top of desktop RG page to organize information.
– RG content on both desktop and mobile is difficult to find.
– DKsaferplay.com not featured prominently on desktop or mobile app.
BetMGM: Most thoughtful informational resources
Overall impression: The BetMGM RG page focuses entirely on educating bettors and their loved ones. The page features a useful banner menu at top that includes how-to-play information, betting principles, resources for families and state-by-state resources. All the information is presented in a good mix of images and text, which we found to be the most visually appealing approach of all four sportsbooks. The support for family resources did a particularly good job of addressing seniors, children and spouses who gamble.
– Main RG page uses mix of text and images to help the reader process the content.
– The banner at top provides a useful overview of available information.
– Valuable information about helping loved ones cope with gambling problems.
– Easy-to-digest list of problem gambling warning signs.
– “Know The Game” section is helpful for new gamblers who need to understand how gambling works (house advantages, gambler’s fallacy, chasing wins, etc.)
– Tools for setting limits are not in the same place as RG content.
– RG content is more informational than functional.
– BetMGM promotes something called GameSense, but it’s confusing whether this is a service or just a general understanding of how to gamble responsibly.
– RG logo on main page is very small; difficult to find RG info on mobile app.
Caesars Sportsbook: RG Content Also-Ran
The one thing the Caesars Sportsbook’s RG page has going for it is that it is by far the easiest one to locate on both mobile and desktop. The Caesars desktop RG logo and icon are the most conspicuous of the four sportsbooks we covered. Beyond that, Caesars is the also-ran in this group as the rest of the site’s RG content leaves much to be desired.
– Responsible Gambling logo on main page is distinctive and easy to read.
– Mobile app has easy-to-access tools for setting limits, cooling off and self-excluding.
– The RG history feature in a user’s account allows them to keep track of their limit setting and self-exclusion choices.
– Limited informational RG content.
– Not many limit-setting tools available
– Most RG info is for third-party sites in a given state.
– Difficult to find RG content on mobile site.
Final thoughts on online sportsbook responsible gambling content
NCSharp looked at the four largest online sportsbooks in the country because we wanted to see what the brands with the most money to spend have done with RG content.
What we noticed across all four brands is that none have displayed their RG content prominently. While on all four desktop sites, an RG icon shows up in the top banner, those icons are basically illegible and you would be forgiven for missing them entirely, especially in the case of BetMGM.
Green circle with yellow “RG” at right. 1-800-Gambler information alongside.
Same Green circle at right but includes text reading “Responsible Gaming”.
White circle next to BetMGM logo at left. “Responsible Gaming” forms the circle, but this is too small to read.
Black and white shield with “RG” at right and “Responsible Gaming” written more prominently alongside.
None of the four mobile apps feature the RG logo on the home screen. Instead, RG information is typically found under the User Account Information page.
The implicit message seems to be that RG content still reads like the fine print in a car commercial. That’s ironic considering most of these books have spent much time and money crafting effective RG pages. We’d like to see this change, but we don’t expect a major overhaul to occur before North Carolina online sports betting launches.
So, we return to our first major takeaway: responsibility.
Responsibility lies in the hands of the user. It requires diligence in finding a site’s RG page and availing oneself of all its information. That means doing the reading and using the tools to set clear boundaries. Like the four we’ve profiled, the top sites have mostly provided a range of media to deliver this information. It’s now down to the users to educate themselves.
Ultimately, we would like to see this burden shift more towards the operators to engage their customers more intentionally, but for now, the onus is on Tar Heel bettors to make the decision to bet responsibly.