MGM Resorts International is one of the biggest and most recognized casino operators in the world. MGM Resorts recently announced that it had decided to roll out GameSense at all of its properties in an attempt to increase its efforts to combat problem gambling and provide its patrons with more options to prevent gambling addictions.
What Is GameSense?
The British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) developed a program named as GameSense which requires casino operators to do more to educate their patrons on the pros and cons of gambling while providing them with different options to restrict the amount of time and money they spent at the casinos.
GameSense makes players aware of the fact that luck is an illusion as the odds always favor the casino. The program asks players to be open about their gambling habits and not hide their gambling activities from their family and friends. It also encourages players to set spending limits and time restrictions when they visit a casino to prevent them from going over the edge.
Massachusetts Enforces GameSense
Massachusetts approved gambling in the state only a few years ago and the Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park Casino is the only gambling facility that is currently opened to the public. MGM Resorts is in the process of developing its MGM Springfield facility while Wynn Resorts is in the process of constructing its Wynn National Harbor casino.
Gaming regulators have asked all three casino operators to adopt GameSense for their respective properties in an effort to ensure that Massachusetts does not have an escalation of problem gambling. MGM Resorts researched the GameSense program and was impressed by what they found and then decided to license the program from BCLC for an amount that is not disclosed.
The company decided that it will implement GameSense in Massachusetts as well as its 10 properties in Nevada. MGM Resorts has plans to eventually roll out the responsible gaming program across all of its properties in the country.
Problem Gambling Stats
Opponents of the casino industry state that the expansion of the casino industry in the country has also contributed for the increase in problem gamblers. Gambling addiction centres say that 15 million are at risk of developing a problem gambling addiction, 3 million are considered problem gamblers and 2.5 million have a serious problem gambling addiction.
If these numbers are accurate, then more than 2.5 percent of the adult gambling population in the country has an issue with problem gambling. When it comes to Nevada, these numbers are even higher as an estimated 2.2 to 3.6 percent of players battle addictions in some form or the other.
GameSense Training Program
MGM Resorts has to go through a massive training program where more than 77,000 employees across all states will be trained on the GameSense program. Under the program, MGM employees will have to walk through the casino floor and keep an eye on all players. They should be able to identify players who are problem gamblers or potential problem gamblers and then be able to offer them responsible gaming advice without being too pushy or intrusive.
Alan Feldman, Executive Vice President at MGM realizes who difficult this task is going to be for MGM employees. Feldman pointed out that since it was difficult for trained professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists to pinpoint problem gamblers, it would be an extremely difficult proposition for casino employees to be able to identify which players had problems with gambling with limited training.
MGM Partners With UNLV
MGM has also committed to donate $1 million over a period of 5 years to the University of Las Vegas’s International Gaming Institute who will analyze the data that MGM collects through its GameSense program. Once the data is analyzed and the research is completed, the report will be shared with Harvard University and the University of British Columbia.
The research will look at a number of areas including online gambling policies, community relations and responsible gaming, problem gambling behavior and eSports and gambling. MGM Resorts states that close to 75 percent of their patrons play responsibly and by implementing the GameSense program, they want to push that number up to 80 or 85 percent.