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It’s fair to say that most responsible individuals support the idea that protections need to be in place to protect vulnerable problem gamblers. The last thing anyone involved with the online gambling community wants is to see a rash of negative stories related to problem gambling issues. That’s the surest way to give the entire gambling industry a black eye that it doesn't need at this point in time.
In an effort to show clear indications they will support the institution of problem gambling measures going forward, Fanduel plans to make it easier for people to have their spouses banned from playing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). It’s important to note these plans only relate to DFS until further notice. Should everything go smoothly, it’s likely that similar guidelines would be used for the Fanduel sportsbook and online casino at the state level.
Fanduel’s decision comes as part of a settlement related to a class-action lawsuit that was filed in 2016 in Massachusetts. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of spouses who felt they were being denied the ability to protect themselves when their respective spouses were creating financial issues with compulsive gambling.
According to a court document, “Under the Settlement, player spouses are no longer required to prove joint ownership of the financial account associated with the account, or the existence of unmet financial or child support obligations, to request that FanDuel place their spouse on FanDuel’s exclusion list.”
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the court will require Fanduel to implement their promised changes to their exclusion policy within 90 days of the agreement being approved by the court. After instituting the new guidelines, they will need to enforce them for a minimum of four years. While maintaining they did nothing wrong, Fanduel will also be obligated to pay legal fees, costs, and expenses related to the class-action lawsuit, not to exceed $195,000.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the above dictates from the settlement, Fanduel has agreed to make a one-time donation of $375,000 to at least one national organization that deals with problem gambling issues. Again, they do this without admitting any wrongdoing.
While the circumstances surrounding this lawsuit came from growing concerns that online gambling operators were not doing enough to protect potential problem gamblers, that was five years ago. The online gambling industry in the U.S. has certainly evolved since then. That's why this settlement only targets Fanduel's DFS platform.
Moving forward, all online gambling operators are being put under strict guidelines by regulators at the individual state level. While being modeled after ongoing efforts in the U.K. to combat problem gambling issues, any necessary improvements will certainly get all due consideration.
U.S. Regulators, bettors, and especially online gambling operators want online sports betting and casino gambling to be a safe form of adult recreation. It's pretty clear everyone involved is on board with taking whatever precautionary steps they need to take to make sure this industry is a success.
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