The PokerStars US App is operational in three US states — New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. With lucrative online poker tournament series running regularly across all states, this year saw the launch of a social media campaign encouraging players to gamble responsibly.
Parent company Flutter spoke to Sports Shield earlier this year about its new global responsible gambling initiative called Play Well that eschews a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling harmful gambling behavior.
Flutter and its subsidiaries want a holistic approach to providing players with the “tools, information, and support to enable a positive, safe, and entertaining experience.”
The Play Well initiative will trickle down into everything the company does and has no doubt inspired the responsible gaming public service campaign that reminds players to take breaks from the action when needed.
We sat down with Eddie Motl, Vice President of Communications at FOX Bet Sportsbook — a US-facing sports betting site and a subsidiary of Flutter — to learn more about PokerStars USA’s recent responsible gaming achievements and what can be expected for the rest of 2022.
Your new RG social media campaign encouraging players to set limits looked very sleek. Did you find the campaign was successful?
Thank you. Anytime we put anything out — and specifically for responsible gaming — we want to make sure it is eye-catching and something folks stop to read and understand. While what you’re referring to was not a separate social media campaign, it’s what we do consistently to ensure our customers enjoy our product responsibly.
Was there a direct uptick in players implementing the tools on the back of the social media ads?
Our mission is to assist and protect customers who are at risk of the potential negative effects of gambling through a number of means, including self-exclusion tools, guidance on responsible gaming, risk identification, & player verification. Any time we have a big event with a larger pool of players, for example, a SCOOP, we may see an uptick in the use of our responsible gaming tools. And, of course, using social media (and other means) to get the message out helps remind players that they have these resources available.
During SCOOP (USA), we saw tailored ads encouraging players to take a break from the action. Do you think this was a successful way of communicating with your players?
Yes, we do, and it’s part of our responsible gaming playbook. Our mission is to assist and protect customers who are at risk of the potential negative effects of gambling through a number of means, including self-exclusion tools, guidance on responsible gaming, risk identification, and player verification.
Do you have any comparisons you could give us? Are different RG tools more popular in different US markets, for example? What are the most used RG tools at PokerStars USA? What is the most effective RG tool in a player’s arsenal?
When needed, the use of responsible gaming tools varies from player to player. With that said, the Flutter Group’s Play Well strategy has strengthened our commitment to responsible gaming by empowering our players to enjoy our product responsibly.
Are there any RG tools you would like to offer players that you do not currently? What are your RG plans/ strategies/ targets for the coming year?
PokerStars and our parent company Flutter International continuously reviews our responsible gaming program and modifies and enhances it where warranted. Through Flutter International and its various companies that operate in more mature markets worldwide, we’ve been able to tap into their key learnings and develop a responsible gaming program that suits the US market.
There is talk of an industry-wide poker black list — what are your thoughts on this?
We uphold and maintain compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by regulating bodies and welcome any discussion that strives to ensure fair, responsible play across the industry.