Responsible gaming and providing better access to help players with problem gambling are the main objectives of a licensing agreement between British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) and MGM Resorts International for a program called GameSense, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The two gaming companies announced the collaboration on Wednesday in British Columbia at the New Horizons Responsible Gambling Conference.
The responsible gaming program encourages gamblers to adopt behaviors, including setting time and money limits, which may help to lessen the risk of developing gambling disorders. Normalizing discussions with family and friends regarding personal gambling habits is also encouraged. GameSense information centers will be located at MGM properties and will provide customers with information on responsible gambling. Also being discussed is the possibility of kiosks on the casino floor, according to the news agency.
Over a five-year period, MGM will donate $1 million to UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. Research conducted by the gaming institution on the program’s findings will help to improve it and similar efforts. UNLV’s research, says Alan Feldman, the executive vice president of global industry affairs at MGM Resorts, will help the company utilize the findings in a more customer service-based way.
Feldman explained that GameSense does not only target individuals with gambling issues; it targets at all guests. The gaming industry, he said, doesn’t identify problem gamblers and it should not. He said, “I’m not saying we’re ignoring people that are in distress — we are not. But I mean to the extent to that the industry makes a promise anywhere that we’re going to identify problem gamblers.” Feldman said a claim such as that borders on and could possibly be viewed as unethical.
Another contributing factor to problem gambling, alcohol use and customers being served free drinks, was also discussed at the conference. Feldman said, “With responsible gaming and alcohol consumption, informed choice is a key instance in all of this,” he said. “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,” according to the report.
Feldman said that regular discussions with customers and employees regarding problem gambling could reduce the number of customers who will end up in distress, which is the objective of the program.
MGM anticipates that by the year’s end GameSense will be fully implemented at all of its properties. MGM has 14 casinos in Las Vegas alone.