Covering New England Casinos & Recreational Gambling – Embrace the MATH, not the MYTH!
Massachusetts Looks to Mark Van Linden for Player Responsible Gambling
A key element of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Responsible Gaming Framework is support to inform players that they have choices, which to supports players’ efforts to responsibly manage their gambling. On December 4, 2014 the MGC voted to adopt a play management system that includes limit setting tools. Mark Vander Linden, Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, was given the task to layout the strategy using BCLC’s GameSense, becoming the first jurisdiction outside Canada to embrace this internationally recognized brand.
“We are thrilled to have Massachusetts onboard with GameSense,” said Jim Lightbody, BCLC Interim President & CEO. “GameSense is designed to communicate with players in an approachable tone and with engaging resources. It’s become a model others look to for best practices and it’s exciting to share this with our counterparts.”
“In advance of introducing casinos in the state, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission sought to identify the world’s most promising and advanced responsible gaming practices,” described Mark VanderLinden, Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, Massachusetts Gaming Commission. “Given the success of BCLC’s GameSense strategy, it was clear to the Commission that adopting this innovative brand will greatly enhance our overall efforts to promote responsible gaming and effectively communicate with our citizens.” The first casino in Massachusetts to feature GameSense will be Plainridge Park Casino with future plans to include the new MGM and Wynn facilities.
The program uses a positive and fun approach to engage players. Some examples include:
Play management tools provide pop-up reminders on the screen of the electronic gaming machine as the player reaches 60%, 90% and 100% of the limit that they have voluntarily set up.
Patrons must actively opt-in to enroll in the play management program enrolling their limits from multiple locations onsite and through the casino website
Patrons can change their limits from multiple locations onsite and through the casino website
Limit-setting tools are coordinated with other features of the play management system such as “Cost of play messaging,” monthly statements of gaming activity, a brief problem gambling self-assessment tool, tips on responsible gaming educational quizzes, and information on how to access assistance.
At the first announcement of such a program, I thought it was yet another over-controlling measure by anti-gaming lobbyists. But after investigating this more, I feel it could really help decrease addiction, without getting in the way of the fun and leisure that accompanies gaming activity.