MGC Leads New England in Addiction Help

Follow the signs of problem gambling.

Once each year, I pause the gambling news and hype to be sure we look at the seriousness of problem gambling. March is Problem Gambling Awareness month. For the 14th year, PGAM, the Problem Gambling Awareness Month, is a national public awareness and outreach campaign established to bring awareness to issues associated with problem gambling and to also highlight the national and local resources available to provide individuals and families with support.

As any vice/leisure activity allowed in our society, certain responsibilities should be followed.  However, some people are not able to resist the overwhelming dark sides of their actions.  Whether for moral, economic, or basic human caring reasons, we try to provide help to those who cannot help themselves.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.  Massachusetts & D.C. have commercial casinos as of 2017.

You might find it odd to have a post dealing with the “dark side” of gaming, but it is with an objective responsibility that NETime Gambling covers it all, and that includes the awareness of problem gambling. Consider this:

  • According to an info-graphic released by the NCPG, problem gambling accounts for $7 billion in the US annually due to addiction, bankruptcy, and crime.
  • Of the estimated five million Americans who already meet the criteria for gambling addiction, three in four have problems with alcohol, 38 percent use or have used illegal drugs, and 20 percent have attempted or committed suicide.

For more information on problem gambling, go to the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

In recognition of PGAM this year, the  Massachusetts Gaming Commission presents the following initiatives:

  • PREVENT: This month, MGC will introduce an updated version of its Responsible Gaming Framework. Originally published in 2014, the RGF is intended to inform gaming regulation in Massachusetts and provide an overall orientation to the responsible gaming practices and policies adopted by MGC and its licensees. After a comprehensive review process which included participation of independent experts and members of the recovery community, the latest RGF now includes updated key principles, expanded strategies and is grounded in the most up-to-date research.
  • EDUCATE: MGC is currently developing a new marketing and advertising campaign for the GameSense program, MGC’s innovative and comprehensive responsible gaming strategy to encourage responsible play and mitigate program gambling. Expected to launch this summer, the new outreach campaign will extend to Western Massachusetts in anticipation of the MGM Springfield opening.
  • COMMUNICATE: Throughout the month, MGC will implement a targeted social media campaign to increase awareness about problem gambling prevention and the resources available.
  • COLLABORATE: Working closely with MGC, GameSense Advisors at Plainridge Park Casino will conduct a series of training and awareness-building activities for casino employees.
  • RESEARCH: MGC remains committed to its robust research agenda and using findings to further inform problem gambling intervention, prevention and treatment strategies. View MGC’s latest research report about problem gambling. Last month, the MGC released the first significant report of the Massachusetts gaming impact cohort study. Information from this study provides new and much-needed information about problem gambling incidence rates and behavioral trajectory. This study will yield important information leading to tailored treatment and prevention programs.
  • SUPPORT: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Gambling Disorder Screening Day. On 13 March 2017, the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Division on Addiction and Outpatient Addiction Services are sponsoring a Gambling Disorder Screening Day as part of the Cambridge Health Alliance Readiness for Gambling Expansion (CHARGE) Initiative

Other New England States have the following to help gamblers with addiction problems:

Connecticut – The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling

Rhode Island – Play Responsibly, The Rhode Island Council on Problem Gambling

Maine – Problem Gambling Links at Maine Gov

Help each other if your friends, family or children seem to be spending money they don’t have.  If you have questions or concerns about your own gambling, take the 20 Question Check at Gambler’s Anonymous.  Wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry?

Sincerely,

Binbin

 

March Is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Once each year, I pause the gambling news and hype to be sure we look at the seriousness of problem gambling. March is Problem Gambling Awareness month.  It comes at a perfect time in New England in 2017 when the expansion of gambling seems on the verge of chaos, with the additional considerations of a third Connecticut casino, a third Maine casino, and more speculation in Bridgeport Ct & New Hampshire.

Follow the signs of problem gambling.

Follow the signs of problem gambling.

For the 13th year, The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) dedicates March to helping people “have the conversation” about problem gambling.  “Problem Gambling is a disease that affects over seven million Americans , yet few talk about it,” said National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte, “and that’s why we created the ‘Have The Conversation’ campaign to raise awareness of prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling.”

 

Katie Barlowe of Casino.org and in her article Problem Gambling Awareness Month Highlights Plainridge Park Casino’s Safeguard Failures”  she includes the following:  “Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and, therefore, could benefit from programs to prevent gambling addiction,” the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) website states. “We believe many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is or where to get help.”

As any vice/leisure activity allowed in our society, certain responsibilities should be followed.  However, some are not able to resist the overwhelming dark sides of these actions.  Whether for moral, economic, or basic human caring reasons, we try to provide help to those who cannot help themselves.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.  Massachusetts & D.C. should both have commercial casinos as of 2017.

You might find it odd to have a post dealing with the “dark side” of gaming, but it is with an objective responsibility that NETime Gambling covers it all, and that includes the awareness of problem gambling.

MS. Barlowe also includes the following statistics:

  • According to an info-graphic released by the NCPG, problem gambling accounts for $7 billion in the US annually due to addiction, bankruptcy, and crime.
  • Of the estimated five million Americans who already meet the criteria for gambling addiction, three in four have problems with alcohol, 38 percent use or have used illegal drugs, and 20 percent have attempted or committed suicide.

For more information on problem gambling, go to the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

Massachusetts leads the charge in offering help to problem gambling. According to RGTOnline, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is implementing the following initiatives:

MGC will implement the following initiatives:

  • Educate: On 12 March 2017, MGC will launch a new advertising campaign to promote its GameSense program, an innovative and comprehensive responsible gaming strategy to encourage responsible play and mitigate program gambling.
  • Communicate: Throughout the month, MGC will execute a social media campaign to increase awareness about problem gambling prevention and the resources available.
  • Collaborate: Working closely with MGC, GameSense Advisors will conduct a series of training and awareness-building activities for Plainridge Park Casino employees.
  • Research: Later in the month, MGC will announce new details about efforts to expand its research agenda and introduce new data that will further inform intervention, prevention and treatment strategies for problem gambling.
  • Support: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Gambling Disorder Screening Day. On 14 March 2017, the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Division on Addiction and Outpatient Addiction Services are sponsoring a Gambling Disorder Screening Day as part of the Cambridge Health Alliance Readiness for Gambling Expansion (CHARGE) Initiative.
  • The state’s Gaming Commission will continue to require that Massachusetts casino operators implement GameSense, a program developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corp. in Canada in 2009 to let players manage the financial side of gambling.  Wynn Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield will implement this program, and Plainridge Park casino has seen success with its implementation this past year.

Gamesense 2Kudos to MGM International.  Just this week, on Wednesday, MGM Resorts executives announced at a meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, that the company will implement GameSense at its resorts in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country, not just in Springfield where it is required.

Help each other if your friends, family or children seem to be spending money they don’t have.  If you have questions or concerns about your own gambling, take the 20 Question Check at Gambler’s Anonymous.  Wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry?

Sincerely,

Binbin

 

Plainridge Park Casino Officially Launches “PlayMyWay” Today!

Pl;ainridge ParkPlainridge Park Casino is celebrating it’s one year anniversary. Tomorrow, NETG will post a page of previous posts marking the year that was in Plainville, Massachusetts where the Pilgrim state’s first casino was built as part of the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act in passed in 2011.
P{layMyWayAvailable June 9th at Plainridge Park Casino, the PlayMyWay program is a new innovative tool designed to allow customers the ability to monitor the amount of money they spend on electronic gaming machines, and to support their decision to continue or stop play.  Plainridge is perfect for the trial since it only has electronic gaming.
MGCThe Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is pleased to announce this first-of-its-kind pilot program in the United States to focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices. PlayMyWay is intended to help players make decisions about gambling, allow them to monitor and understand their playing behavior in real time, and support their decisions.  The PlayMyWay program is the latest tool added to MGC’s wide-ranging and unique responsible gaming framework known as GameSense.  Here is previous post concerning GameSense:

Continue reading

Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and the marketing drive has brought to light Plainridge Casino’s failure to protect those susceptible to gaming addiction in Massachusetts. (Image: ncpgambling.com)

(Image: ncpgambling.com)

March is Problem Gambling Awareness month.  It comes at a perfect time in New England in 2016 when the expansion of expanded gambling seems on the verge of chaos.

Follow the signs of problem gambling.

Follow the signs of problem gambling.

Katie Barlowe of Casino.org and in her article Problem Gambling Awareness Month Highlights Plainridge Park Casino’s Safeguard Failures”  she includes the following:  “Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and, therefore, could benefit from programs to prevent gambling addiction,” the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) website states. “We believe many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is or where to get help.”

As any vice/leisure activity allowed in our society, certain responsibilities should be followed.  However, some are not able to resist the overwhelming dark sides of these actions.  Whether for moral, economic, or basic human caring reasons, we try to provide help to those who cannot help themselves.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.

Types of Casino Gambling throughout the U.S.

You might find it odd to have a post dealing with the “dark side” of gaming, but it is with an objective responsibility that NETime Gambling covers it all, and that includes the awareness of problem gambling.

MS. Barlowe also includes the following statistics:

  • According to an infographic released by the NCPG, problem gambling accounts for $7 billion in the US annually due to addiction, bankruptcy, and crime.
  • Of the estimated five million Americans who already meet the criteria for gambling addiction, three in four have problems with alcohol, 38 percent use or have used illegal drugs, and 20 percent have attempted or committed suicide.

Staggering.  Is it not similar to other addictions – nicotine, alcohol, drugs, and so many more.

Tomorrow, we look at the systems in place to help gambling addiction, starting with Massachusetts and GameSense.

Binbin

 

Massachusetts Casino Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program

th (42)With a new gaming industry comes new approaches.  One approach to help patrons of Massachusetts casinos help themselves from gambling addiction and problem gambling might just be a step ahead of what most casinos across the country have done.

MGCThe Massachusetts Gaming Commission has created a program that would allow problem gamblers to ban themselves from Massachusetts casinos. They can enroll for a ban ranging from six months to life. People who enroll won’t be able to enter any casino. Breaking the rule and getting caught would mean they’d have to forfeit their winnings.

The list of people who ban themselves will be shared with casino security for enforcement.

It is called the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program.  A key requirement of the Expanded Gaming Act, the program is just one of many resources the Commission is employing to help people who may have a gambling problem or may be at risk of developing one.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission stresses the importance of face-to-face interaction as a hallmark of the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program. Enrollment must be performed in person with a professional who has been trained to handle these requests. Enrollees may speak to advisors at the GameSense Info Center at Plainridge Park Casino. In addition, an enrollee can make an appointment with an advisor by contacting either of the following:

Ohio is a good example. Caesars Entertainment, which is operating the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos, and Penn National Gaming Inc.,owner of Plainridge Park as well as the Toledo and Columbus casinos, also have their own voluntary exclusion programs in Ohio.  Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Arizona have similar programs.

The fact is gamblers have plenty of options besides casinos: the racetrack, online gaming, bingo, lottery tickets. Self-exclusion programs don’t ban people from those activities….but it does help. It certainly can’t hurt. anonymous

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Do Casinos Trick Patrons or Should Gamblers be More Self-Informed?

Slot Machine 3

Oh, those who think that casinos should run their business and still let everyone win – and still pay the bills!  Human beings are becoming so entitled.  If you ask casino patrons on a bad streak, they will say the casino is up to something – they aren’t winning – and it’s the casino’s fault.

Listen, casino gambling is a recreational activity, with the vast majority of games offered having a skewed advantage to the house – we all know it, we just sit at that slot machine, riding that trip down the river of denial.

An article by Dr. Harrigan, the lead researcher and contact person for the University of Waterloo Problem Gambling Research Team. His primary research interest is in gambling addictions with a focus on why so many slot machine gamblers become addicted. In his article, he deals with many factors that the “Casino Industry” is basically trying to make addicts out of all of us – real, concerning, and a serious topic for potentially addictive gamblers. His article was published by the Repeal the Vote lobby before the Massachusetts vote – you can judge the “why,” I’ll just stick with the facts.

So, how do, or can, casinos entice the individual gambler into gambling more? images One way, to reference Dr. Harrigan’s article, is that the casino is not truthful about how much the slot machine pays.  I’ve got news for you – hold on to your hat – that’s why it’s called “gambling!” Continue reading

Connecticut Casino Expansion: Part 3 – Retaining Revenue & Addiction

After considering all that is at stake, the main considerations I see include:

  1. lost revenue & retaining gaming revenue
  2. gambling addiction and
  3. market saturation,

LOST GAMING REVENUE in CT

imagesIn my opinion, the addition of slot parlors at the New york and Massachusetts borders may help retain revenue,  but they won’t entice bigger gamblers to leave Massachusetts or Maine to return to Connecticut as they always did. They will simply stay locally, which is the growing trend with so many casinos in so many states. Frankly, I don’t see the legislature or the residents of Connecticut passing for this latest proposal – those who favor expanded gambling in Connecticut really don’t have the numbers on their side? Finally, it would seem logical to argue that more casinos in the state would simply dilute the already shrinking customer base in Connecticut.  A gambler who lives in greater Boston and currently travels to northeast Connecticut is going to patronize the casino in Everett, outside of Boston, when it’s built instead of Connecticut. If there four casinos in Connecticut, this hypothetical needed gambler’s lost revenue is still not coming back to Connecticut.

GAMBLING ADDICTIONimages

Addictions are real – they are part of the human element.  Gambling addiction is on the rise everywhere in the nation.  Various surveys have determined that around two million people in the U.S. are addicted to gambling, and for as many as 20 million citizens the habit seriously interferes with work and social life. mass lottery This includes lotteries, keno, and many other smaller but vastly accessible gambling experiences that do not include entering a casino.  Around the U.S.—particularly in California—casinos are taking gambling addiction seriously. Marc Lefkowitz of the California Council on Problem Gambling regularly trains casino managers and employees to keep an eye out for worrisome trends, such as customers who spend increasing amounts of time and money gambling. He urges casinos to give gamblers the option to voluntarily ban themselves and to prominently display brochures about Gamblers Anonymous and other treatment options near ATM machines and pay phones. A gambling addict may be a huge source of revenue for a casino at first, but many end up owing massive debts they cannot pay.

Everyone realizes that casinos are in the business of making money, right? – much like the tobacco, alcohol, and fast-food industries.  All four should be considered recreational, and yet we realize all four have tendencies for addiction that can ruin people, families, and lives,  and individuals should also take the responsibility of getting help when needed.  The states, tribal casinos, or casino industry are not the only ones causing us all to ask “what’s wrong with this picture?”

Wednesday is the 4th and last installment of this series.  I’ll briefly look at the implications of market saturation and the future of the New England Casino Industry “in the year 2525”

See you then.  That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

 

New England’s Gambling Bias & Prejudice

smily face         Remember the days when you asked your parents for an Atari Video Game because all your friends had one? (Yes, I’m old enough to have played pong on my TV set)

Here are the possible parental replies:

  1. Good – then go to your friends and play, we need to spend money on the basics for our family needs.
  2. Oh, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?
  3. Sure, I’ll get you one, only to keep you here.  Invite your friends over here instead – and let’s get the biggest & best one.
  4. Oh, I’m not buying one of those evil things or even letting it come near our house.  And I suggest you don’t go to your friends to play that devilish game either.

When looking at the continuing saga of New England Casino proposals, it seems like the same scenario.  Let’s look at each one: Continue reading