Industry Must Spend More Time & Money On Responsible Gaming Education
The executive director of the University of Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute presented his views at the recently held American Gaming Association’s 21st Responsible Gaming Education Week in Las Vegas.
The conferenced looked at a number of different areas including the need to focus on the educational efforts required to curb problem gambling and responsible gaming.
Bo Bernhard explained how an Australian casino slowed down slot machine reels in their establishment in an attempt to keep compulsive gamblers from playing those slot machines. The operation backfired as slowing the spin rate down actually made the problem worse as the players simply played for longer periods of time.
Now that sports betting has been legalized in New Jersey, Mississippi and Delaware along with the fact that several other states will soon be offering it, discussions focused on how the industry needs to avoid creating more problem gamblers. The American Gaming Association has modernized its code of conduct to specifically address sports gambling. These updates include marketing and advertising rules and the prevention of underage gambling. Casinos have been asked to take careful measures to ensure that they don’t allow minors to place sports bets.
Sara Slane of the AGA said that the industry needs to help lawmakers to develop effective policies. She feels that “burdensome and unworkable regulations” are as harmful as doing nothing at all.
The Evolution of Responsible Gaming
Right now, the gambling industry is a lot different than it was back in the 1980s when Caesars Entertainment started their Operation Bet Smart program. It was the first time that a casino company made an effort to help their customers recognize the signs of problem gambling. Compliance specialist Jennifer Shatley recalled how Caesars changed imaging from the fanned out cards and blackjack table because it promoted gambling. It wasn’t just customers that were the target of the responsible gambling campaign. Employees were taught how to spot the signs in both customers and co-workers. Responsible gambling is an evolving issue according to Shatley.
It appears that one of the biggest challenges is the ever-changing technology. Robin Bernhard is the senior manager of marketing for BMM Test Labs. He acknowledges that gambling is now well “beyond casino walls” due largely in part to online gambling.
Bernhard talked about a study that was conducted by the National Center for Responsible Gaming. The study concluded that 95 percent of those who gamble are responsible. The other 5 percent show signs of problem gambling while 1 percent of that 5 percent are considered problem gamblers.
MGM Resorts International Executive Vice President Alan Feldman says that responsible gambling is about helping that one percent and preventing that 5 percent from becoming a part of the 1 percent. He also stresses that the gambling industry needs to do its best to stop any of the 95 percent from falling out of that group.