These Are The Responsible Gaming Measures In House Sports Betting Bill

Written By Adam Hensley on April 12, 2024
A picture of a published report for a story about the responsible gaming measures in the House sports betting bill

Missouri House Bill 2331, which would legalize sports betting in the Show Me State, emphasizes responsible gaming.

States across the country have made responsible gambling a priority, and Missouri is no different.

HB 2331 is the most likely Missouri sports betting bill to pass this year. It’s the only one that has made significant movement. It currently awaits a House floor vote. The other three bills have yet even to pass a committee.

HB 2331 would create a “Compulsive Gamblers Fund,” push the Missouri Gaming Commission to launch some educational programs and mandate a study on compulsive gambling.

HB 2331 would address problem gambling in several ways

Originally, the bill said that there “may” be programs to help people suffering from problem gambling.

But after committees amended the bill, “shall” replaced “may.”

“There shall be established programs which shall provide treatment, prevention, recovery and educational services for compulsive gambling.”

Additionally, lawmakers didn’t include “recovery” in previous versions. This is a key addition, as problem gambling habits don’t just disappear. There must be resources available to help those who have stopped gambling from rebounding.

Furthermore, the bill defines “compulsive gambler.” It is someone “who is chronically and progressively preoccupied with gambling and the urge to gamble.”

In turn, the bill would create a “Compulsive Gamblers Fund.” The Missouri Department of Mental Health would administer it.

Lastly, the Missouri Gaming Commission “shall administer programs to educate the public around problem gambling and promote treatment programs offered by the Department of Mental Health.”

Bill mandates the creation of a voluntary exclusion program

A voluntary exclusion list is a commonly-used tool states have utilized to combat problem gambling.

HB 2331 does the same.

“The commission shall administer the voluntary exclusion program for gamblers.”

Each state’s voluntary exclusion program differs, but the goal is the same: Those suffering from gambling addiction can sign up, voluntarily, to be excluded from entering a casino or from sports betting.

When visiting a casino, each customer must swipe their driver’s license. If their name is on the list, the casino staff will be notified, and they’ll be told to leave. Also, sports betting sites will not allow self-exclusion program members to wager.

HB 2331 mandates the commission to create an online self-exclusion program.

There will be a study on compulsive gambling

One of the most significant aspects of the latest version of the HB 2331 is probably the study on compulsive gambling.

The commission would partner with the Department of Mental Health to conduct studies on the causes and effects of compulsive gambling under HB 2331.

“(The commission and Department of Mental Health) shall develop a triennial research report in order to assess the social and economic effects of gaming in the state and to obtain scientific information related to neuroscience, psychology, sociology, epidemiology and etiology of compulsive gambling.”

The findings would be delivered to the governor, the pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives by Dec. 31, 2025. The same process would occur every three years under the bill.

The report would include three items at a minimum:

  • A baseline study of the existing occurrence of compulsive gambling in the state: “The study shall examine and describe the existing levels of compulsive gambling and the existing programs available that have a goal of preventing and addressing the harmful consequences of compulsive gambling.”
  • A comprehensive legal and factual study of the social and economic impacts of gambling of the state
  • Recommendations on programs and legislative actions to address compulsive gambling in the state: This includes “a recommended appropriation to the compulsive gamblers fund based on the study.”

Responsible advertising is another point of emphasis in HB 2331

As sports betting becomes mainstream in more and more states, people are seeing an influx of advertisements. Professional sports teams partner with sportsbooks and operators air commercials on television and across social media.

HB 2331 would prohibit operators from “knowingly (targeting) minors or other persons who are ineligible to place wagers, problem gamblers or other vulnerable persons.”

Additionally, each operator must provide links or information about responsible gambling. Advertising for sportsbooks could not appear on any sites or pages for problem gambling. The national problem gambling helpline number must also be available within each operator’s promotional language.

Fines would start at $10,000 and top out at $100,000.

Also, sportsbook operators would not be allowed to have “false, misleading or deceptive advertisements to a reasonable consumer.”

Photo by PlayMissouri
Adam Hensley Avatar
Written by
Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

View all posts by Adam Hensley