U.S. casino in­dus­try has new rules for re­spon­si­ble gam­bling

Cape Breton Post - - Advice / Lifestyles / Games - BY REGINA GAR­CIA CANO

The casino in­dus­try’s largest lob­by­ing group in the U.S. on Thurs­day rolled out a new code of con­duct with con­sumer pro­tec­tion mea­sures that it says are meant to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble gam­bling.

The code of the Amer­i­can Gam­ing As­so­ci­a­tion calls on casino op­er­a­tors to be more trans­par­ent with pa­trons and pro­vide train­ing to em­ploy­ees. Its an­nounce­ment in Las Ve­gas came within months of two high-pro­file crim­i­nal cases that drew at­ten­tion to the ef­fects of com­pul­sive gam­bling as au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the per­pe­tra­tors were prob­lem gam­blers.

“(Re­spon­si­ble gam­ing) is an ev­ery­day, year-round re­spon­si­bil­ity that we have to ev­ery player that walks through our doors and onto our casino floors,” said El­iz­a­beth Cro­nan, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s se­nior di­rec­tor of gam­ing pol­icy. “... We ap­pre­ci­ate that this is an is­sue that must be top-of-mind in­dus­try-wide for all em­ploy­ees, from those that in­ter­act daily with con­sumers on the gam­ing floor to the se­nior ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship and the boards of di­rec­tors.”

The new code calls on casino op­er­a­tors to gen­er­ally ex­plain pa­trons the odds of win­ning or los­ing at var­i­ous games and to not use ad­ver­tis­ing that con­tains claims that gam­bling ac­tiv­ity will guar­an­tee a per­son’s so­cial, fi­nan­cial or per­sonal suc­cess. It also in­cludes train­ing re­quire­ments for em­ploy­ees on pro­ce­dures for deal­ing with un­der­age gam­bling and other is­sues.

The in­dus­try’s long­stand­ing es­ti­mate is that be­tween 98 per cent and 99 per cent of casino pa­trons gam­ble re­spon­si­bly. This year, how­ever, the re­main­ing one to two per cent have grabbed at­ten­tion around the world.

In April, the man who ran­domly gunned down a Cleve­land re­tiree and posted video of the crime on Face­book in the footage talked about hav­ing trou­ble with his girl­friend and los­ing every­thing he had to gam­bling. Two months later, po­lice in the Philip­pines said the lone sus­pect be­hind a deadly at­tack on a casino and shop­ping com­plex in Manila was a heav­ily in­debted Filipino gam­bling ad­dict.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s mem­bers, such as MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional and Cae­sars En­ter­tain­ment, are ex­pected to com­mit to the code. On Thurs­day, Cro­nan as well as in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives and a reg­u­la­tor par­tic­i­pated in a panel dis­cus­sion at the Univer­sity of Ne­vada, Las Ve­gas.

Alan Feld­man, MGM’s ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of global in­dus­try af­fairs, said the in­dus­try over the past two decades has fo­cused on tack­ling the is­sue “when the fun stops” - also the name of a prob­lem gam­bling aware­ness cam­paign - but the com­pany is ex­pand­ing its ef­forts to ad­dress the con­cerns even be­fore the ac­tiv­ity stops be­ing fun and af­ford­able.

“... What we should be do­ing is hav­ing a reg­u­lar on­go­ing di­a­logue with our cus­tomers to make sure that what they’re do­ing is safe and fun for them and their families,” he said. The com­pany later this year will roll out a new re­spon­si­ble gam­ing pro­gram at its prop­er­ties in Las Ve­gas and other states.

The lone reg­u­la­tor on the panel, Ne­vada Gam­ing Con­trol Board mem­ber Terry John­son, said the next chal­lenge for the in­dus­try that fu­els the Sil­ver State’s econ­omy is the le­gal­iza­tion of recre­ational mar­i­juana. He said ex­ist­ing gam­bling reg­u­la­tions ad­dress im­pair­ment from al­co­hol, but the statutes and reg­u­la­tions are “silent” on mar­i­juana im­pair­ment.

“And what hap­pens when per­sons might be im­paired from mar­i­juana in­tox­i­ca­tion and con­tinue to gam­ble?” he asked.

“(Re­spon­si­ble gam­ing) is an ev­ery­day, year-round re­spon­si­bil­ity that we have to ev­ery player that walks through our doors and onto our casino floors. We ap­pre­ci­ate that this is an is­sue that must be topof-mind in­dus­try-wide for all em­ploy­ees, from those that in­ter­act daily with con­sumers on the gam­ing floor to the se­nior ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship and the boards of di­rec­tors.” El­iz­a­beth Cro­nan, Amer­i­can Gam­ing As­so­ci­a­tion

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