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DraftKings Does Not Want To Attract Problem Gamblers

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DraftKings Does Not Want To Attract Problem Gamblers With Sports Betting

According to DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, it is not solely on sports betting companies to help problem gamblers overcome their addiction.

Robins addressed the role betting companies have in helping gamblers prevent problem gambling and said that the sportsbooks can only do so much.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins says bettors must be willing to change their own behavior

“It’s not this black-and-white line,” Robins told Fortune earlier this month in an interview. “There is some onus on the individual in these situations, too. But there’s a role we also have to play. We have to make sure that we’re both doing what we can to prevent it.”

“People who have gambling issues, they’re going to have a gambling issue. And the job is to help identify those people and get them the help and get them to understand they need help. … It has to be on them to decide that they want to change that behavior.”

In other news, the company is fighting a class-action lawsuit in Massachusetts that alleges one of its bonus promotions intentionally deceives customers. 

Northeastern Law’s Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) and its Center for Public Health Litigation filed a class action lawsuit in December on behalf of Massachusetts citizens who opened DraftKings Sportsbook accounts in response to a $1,000 bonus sign-up promotion that the gambling company advertised.

DraftKings has vowed to “vigorously defend” itself, maintaining that it takes “consumer protection and responsible gaming seriously.”

NCPG estimates that the annual national social cost of problem gambling is $14 billion

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), there are approximately 2.5 million U.S. adults (1%) who are estimated to meet the criteria for a “severe” gambling problem each year. Another 5-8 million (2-3%) qualify as “mild or moderate” gamblers. NCPG estimates that the annual national social cost of problem gambling is $14 billion. 

Moreover, DraftKings is one of seven members of the Responsible Online Gaming Association, which formed in March. Other companies within the group include FanDuel, BetMGM, Hard Rock Digital, bet365, Penn Entertainment, and Fanatics. 

The seven members together account for more than 85% of the legal online sports betting and iGaming industry. The group has pledged $20 million this year for responsible gaming research. 

In 2022, DraftKings donated $1 million to responsible gaming efforts in Massachusetts, where it was founded in 2012 by Robins, Matthew Kalish, and Paul Liberman.

“DraftKings does not want to attract problem gamblers,” says Robins

Robins also added that DraftKings does not want to attract problem gamblers to the sports-betting company. Steering clear of negative publicity is one of the sportsbook’s main goals. 

“You have to try to build the product so that it’s providing value for the people who should be playing it. And the people who shouldn’t be playing it, you have to try to have them not play the product,” Robins said.

AI can be useful in spotting behavior patterns models to detect problem gambling, but Robins went on to explain that “All we can do is flag high-risk situations and then have more manual interventions that dig into them.”

Using AI to detect problem gambling

As of April 2024, DraftKings does not use artificial intelligence to identify behavioral patterns in relation to repetitive gambling behavior, or problem gambling, Robins noted.

“We’re not using AI in that way [that learns the language of addiction],” Robins said. “Were we ever to employ AI in a way that was trying to do things that would show certain products or whatever, it would be much more ease-of-use driven.”

Additionally, Rep. Paul Tonko is reportedly working to pass a federal bill to ban sports betting companies from tracking customer habits or personalizing promotions through AI, per Sam McQuillan of Legal Sports Report.

According to DraftKings’ website, the company states that all bettors have to be at least 21 years old to gamble and he/she must know their limits, play responsibly, reset passwords each year, and create strong authentication. 

The sports betting company encourages gamblers to set limits on deposits, wagering, time, and max wagers. Setting a max limit on how much one can gamble helps prevent addiction.