With March Madness dawning for college hoops lovers and wagerers, the Michigan Gaming Control Board released reminders and tips this week for safe gambling.
March also is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
Like everyone at PlayMichigan, I take this issue seriously. For Super Bowl week, I shared a story about how my dad’s gambling affected our life. I now can only dream of the stability we could have had if he or my mother had been able to set limits. It’s not too late for others, though.
I tested how easy or difficult it is to restrict oneself on a gambling app, site, or, for Michiganders, using the state’s offered resources. Read on for simple ways to ensure responsible wagering, from limiting betting amounts to full-on exclusions.
Operators offer limits on apps, sites
All legally licensed sites in the state must offer options for limitations and/or exclusions. I wanted to test these measures both on a site and using apps. For the website test, I used a Caesars Sportsbook account.
Navigate to the wagers landing page and a “responsible gaming” tab with a shield logo is at the top, under one’s user account. Click there and open an explainer from Caesars that starts with the legal warning required in Michigan.
It gives links to the state’s resources, then links to its own offerings. Caesars allows folks to place themselves on a self-exclusion list for a minimum of 12 months.
The sportsbook provides a form to print out and mail in. If one chooses the self-exclusion route, they are banned from any and all Caesars wagers activities, including reward cards and benefits. Exclusions also extend to all Caesars-owned properties, even new ventures that may open after the restriction began.
After one year, a person can request to have privileges reinstated by completing a form and mailing it to the company’s responsible gaming office. It takes at least 30 days to get approved for reinstatement and the person applying must not have breached their exclusion settings in any way.
Using Caesars’ online choices
For those who prefer electronic everything, click on the user accounts tab, then click “account settings.” From there, three choices pop up under the “responsible gaming” tab: gaming limits, cool off and self-exclusion.
Under the “gaming limits” tab, users can select either daily ($100 to $10,000) weekly ($100 to $50,000) or monthly ($100 to $100,000) limits. The same ranges are available for betting spending limits, and for how much time one can spend on the site. That option ranges from one hour to 24 hours.
The “cool off” tab allows for a shorter exclusion period. For it, users can choose breaks ranging from three to 30 days.
The “self-exclusion” tab offers an electronic path to the stiffest of the restrictions.
For those that install restrictions online, it takes less than five minutes to complete.
Placing restrictions using apps
I next checked out similar services on the FanDuel and DraftKings sportsbooks apps. Like with the Caesars site, I was able to implement my restrictions quickly.
Both apps offer “responsible gaming” selections that include choices for limiting time on the app, wager limits, cooling off periods and self-exclusion periods.
I chose a 30-day cooling off period for both. FanDuel did require my password again, like when one does a Facebook deactivation. Both sites immediately logged me out and sent emails confirming our temporary separation.
Aside from a scramble to remember my password, putting my limits in place on the apps took less than five minutes, too.
For any reversal of the temporary exclusions, one must wait at least 24 hours. Kind of like when a friend hides a phone to stop you from calling your ex again. But your sneaky self has the number memorized, yes? So you just call from another phone. I tried a similar workaround with DraftKings since I used the app for my restriction. I thought I’d try to sneak in through the website.
I went to the computer, where I get automatically logged in. I clicked, and they started to log me in as usual, but it quickly kicked me out, preserving my self-imposed limits. If only our phones did that for the exes!
Michigan offers resources, too
Michigan’s similar restrictions offerings offer broader coverage in one swoop and folks are encouraged to use them.
“Betting should be entertaining and fun, and anyone can game responsibly by making a plan to curb how much is wagered on March Madness or at any time,” Henry Williams, MGCB executive director, said in a press release.
People that want a full self-exclusion from all providers authorized in the state can apply to the gaming control board’s Responsible Gaming Database.
The form gives the choice to exclude oneself from internet gaming, internet sports betting or both. From there, you can choose a one-year or five-year exclusion from both. According to the board’s release, providers and operators may choose to apply the exclusions “broadly”, meaning in multiple states.
The exclusions available there, again, cover only internet gaming and internet sports betting.
People who have gambling struggles in-person can volunteer themselves for the Disassociated Persons program. Once on the list, the person is prohibited from visiting in person any of Detroit’s physical casinos.
Those who violate will get removed from the premises and charged with trespassing. Winnings also will be confiscated. Once on the list, people must wait five years to apply to get removed.
Links to all the state’s resources, including a 24-hour gambling help line, are available here.
If you or anyone you know needs help with their gambling-related issue, call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-270-7117.