MGM Signs Responsible Gaming Deal with BC’s GameSense
In a new agreement, MGM Resorts International and the British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) have taken steps to make gaming safer for players. The two organizations have come together to work in parallel with a program called GameSense. The program will promote responsible gaming and provide improved access to support for players that are experiencing problem gambling.
The announcement was made at the New Horizons Responsible Gambling Conference that was held in Vancouver this past week. The collaboration led to the formation of an in-depth program to assist problem gamblers by giving them practical tools. Some of these tools include setting out money and time limitations as well as other behaviors that can help to lower the risk of the development of a gambling disorder.
One of the most crucial points that any professional that has dealt with problem gambling will tell you, is that opening a discussion with close friends and relatives is vital. This was also outlined by the GameSense program which will have dedicated information centers allocated to MGM properties, giving visitors information on how to gamble responsibly. Another option that was discussed was having info kiosks on casino floors.
Allen Feldman, the executive VP of global government and industry affairs at MGM Resorts International said, “Our vision for GameSense is to work with our partners to transform the guest experience at our properties by providing a program that is rooted in enhanced customer service, player education, and leading research”.
The plan outlined by MGM is to donate $1 million to The University of Nevada Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute over a five-year period. The UNLV’s International Gaming Institute is a world leader in gaming research covering every topic within gaming from innovation and regulation to management education and hospitality. The idea presented by MGM is that the International Gaming Institute will conduct research analyzing the program’s findings. This will then lead to improvements and provide the broader gaming community with additional knowledge in this field. Feldman stated that the importance of collaboration with UNLV lies in taking the findings from the research to the field and implementing methods that can help actually help players in a practical way.
Feldman went on to explain that GameSense will not only focus on individuals with gambling issues but all guests. He stated that the industry at the moment doesn’t identify problem gamblers and that this should stay the way it is. He added, “I’m not saying we’re ignoring people that are in distress — we are not. But I mean to the extent that the industry makes a promise anywhere that we’re going to identify problem gamblers.” Because of the impossibility of claiming to target every single problem gamer, Feldman stated that making that kind of a promise borders on unethical.
Another angle discussed was that problem gambling can also be related to alcohol use since free alcoholic beverages are quite common in casinos. Feldman said, “With responsible gaming and alcohol consumption, informed choice is a key instance in all of this. We find that the free alcohol has become less and less of an issue across the board. People need to understand the nexus between drinking and gambling and how that can go critically wrong.”
Another point of focus discussed by Feldman was communication. Regular discussions with employees and guests could be significant in reducing the number of players that find themselves in a crisis. This is of course the whole point of the program.
In terms of dates, MGM Resorts International stated that the GameSense program should be up and running by the end of the year. That means that GameSense information centers and other facilities will be implemented in all of MGM’s properties.