Bill Pascrell: responsible gaming biggest threat to industry if ignored 

Issues surrounding responsible gaming and tackling problem gambling are the single biggest threat to the existence of the US gaming industry, according to gaming lobbyist, Bill Pascrell

Speaking on the latest episode of the Martin Lycka Safe Bet Show, Pascrell outlined the existential threat to the industry if problem gambling is not directly addressed.

He remarked: “You know, I don’t think there’s a more important issue than the industry coming together because there is no real industry associations, but people have attempted to. For this reason, responsible gaming is the biggest threat, if ignored to this industry.

“We don’t call it responsible gaming anymore. We call it sustainable gaming because without addressing problem gambling in a real way, not a one 800 number on the screen, which is B.S. It’s got to be more than that. 

“Somebody’s got to be on the other line to pick up the phone and counsel people and then also move them towards therapy. You know, you can’t cure alcoholism or drug-ism or problem gambling.”

Pascrell also offered his assessment of the landscape of the ever-increasing US sports betting industry, given he played a leading role in the legalisation in many states. 

Currently, 30 states have legalised sports betting, however, Pascrell revealed his belief that that number could reach the 40s in the coming years. 

“Texas has no casinos. It’s got nothing other than a lottery and horse racing,” Pascrell added, highlighting that officials in the state are beginning to have talks about bringing forward a sports betting bill despite having tighter gambling laws. 

Finally, Lycka and Pascrell discussed the online casino industry in the US, which has not experienced the same ‘boom’ as sports betting has. With only six states having legalised and regulated online casino markets, Pascrell argued that they do not come with the same ‘buzz’ as sports betting. 

He concluded: “Sports betting excitement has taken a lot of air out of the room. So that’s the focus and I’ve always said the industry in America is changing now. But five years ago, brick-and-mortar casinos couldn’t walk and chew gum. They couldn’t handle the multiple-pronged approach. 

“We’re now seeing iterations, as you know, of different innovations – esports, the entrance of cryptos, NFT’s and fixed-odds horse racing – which has been going on in other parts of the world like Europe for a long time. But we don’t have it here yet.”