Recreational Gambling Requires Responsible Gambling

Losing at Gambling?

Be aware of your 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.  It comes at a perfect time in New England in 2019 when the expansion of gambling continues at a feverish pitch. The addition of legal sports betting in Rhode Island, and probably other states in our region by the end of the year, brings more concern to those who might battle gambling additions. ,

MARCH IS PROBLEM GAMBLING AWARENESS MONTH!

Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is a grassroots campaign that depends on the participation of NCPG state Affiliate, organizational and individual members, state health agencies, gambling companies, recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers.

Approximately 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling, another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers; yet for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction.  As March Madness reaches a crescendo with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed on the NCAA basketball championship games, calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) spike an average of 30% during the month

In 2017, according to an info-graphic released by the NCPG, problem gambling accounted 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.

Changing Tide

According to the American Gambling Association, new research released shows that “with American acceptance of gaming at an all-time high, casino gamblers are actively practicing responsible gaming….. Bettors report setting budgets, sticking to them and being aware of available responsible gaming resources at significantly high rates.”

According to the research:

  • 9 in 10 casual bettors set a budget before they visit a casino;
  • 90 percent of those visitors report success in tracking their spending; and
  • 8 in 10 casual casino visitors and 9 in 10 avid casino visitors are aware of responsible gaming resources.

Massachusetts leads the charge

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) implemented many initiatives to curb problem gambling in Massachusetts Casinos, including:

  • PREVENTION:  This month SEIGMA researchers will release evidence-based guidelines designed to help Massachusetts residents make informed decisions about gambling behavior. The upcoming report Low-Risk Gambling Guidelines for Massachusetts defines the point at which level of gambling engagement (i.e. frequency and expenditure) increases risk.RESEARCH: This month the MGC will select organizations to conduct Community-Driven Research. The research objective is to provide communities with the opportunity to define the issue or question relating to the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts. This initiative puts the community first and emphasizes collaboration between researchers.EDUCATION: MGC continues to generate awareness about its popular, responsible gaming program GameSense and is working closely with GameSense Advisors at Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield to host a series of activities for casino employees. As the eyes and ears of the casino, employees play a key role in identifying persons who may be struggling with gambling. Educating casino staff about available programs and resources has increased benefit because research identifies gaming employees as being at a greater risk of developing a gambling problem.COMMUNICATION: Throughout the month, MGC will implement a digital campaign across its multiple social media channels to promote awareness and educate the public about MGC’s voluntary self-exclusion program and the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling helpline.

    COLLABORATION: Plainridge Park Casino employees will wear GameSense-branded PGAM buttons throughout the month. MGM Springfield produced a “Fact or Myth” video featuring a GameSense Advisor and the educational video will be shown to employees at multiple MGM properties.

    SUPPORT: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s ‘Gambling Disorder Screening Day’ taking place on March 12, 2019. On the same day, GameSense Advisors will offer problem gambling screening at Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield.

Gamesense 2Kudos to MGM International for implementing GameSense at its resorts in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country, not just in Springfield where it is required.

Gambling Companies Also Looking to Help

Everi, IGT, and Aristocrat are only a few of the gambling industry giants working with the AGA create responsible gambling. Check out these articles from the AGA’s website:

Everi Provides Tools To Help Customers Play Responsibly

IGT Helps Operators Protect Players and Keep Gaming Fun

Aristocrat: Using Technology To Support Responsible Gaming

Every casino in New England has some form of help, from self-exclusion programs, live chat link on websites for immediate help, or state hotlines like Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. For more information on problem gambling, go to the National Council on Problem Gambling website.  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?

Binbin – Embrace the Awareness of Responsible Gambling

 

New England Casino Gambling History – Updated

What seemed to be a slow trot towards socially approving gambling in New England has changed to a sprint, with no finish line in sight. Expansion continues, with the word “saturation” thrown around annually. While we don’t know what the future holds concerning sports betting, casinos in Bridgeport, CT., East Windsor, CT., and southeastern Massachusetts, and the future competition in southern New England, we can look back to see how we got here.

My interest in gambling history began with playing card games – playing cribbage and Michigan Rummy while in elementary school. With visits to Hartford Jai-Alai and Plainfield Greyhound Racetrack during my twenties, visits to the Sands in Atlantic City and Foxwoods Bingo in my thirties, and the Connecticut expansion in the 1990’s, I was hooked.

"Roll the Bones" by Dr. David Schwartz

“Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz

One of my favorite books is “Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz. In his book, Dr. Dave explains that “….the human predilection for a wager shaped human history from the Ice Age to the Information Age. People spend nearly one trillion dollars worldwide on gambling a year–wouldn’t you like to learn a little about how we got there?”  The fact is, I did!.

To read our NETG review, click here.

New England played a big part in the assertion of gambling in America. According to the California State Library, English settlers differed from their Puritanical neighbors in New England in many ways, but one influenced the early colonies to continue traditional styles of living in a new world , which included gambling, considering as a “harmless diversion, a popular and accepted activity.” Lotteries were used to bail out the Early Colonies when financial backers of the colonies began to see gambling as the solution to diminishing finances needed for the war effort. All 13 original colonies established lotteries, usually more than one, to raise revenue. Lotteries continue to be a main source of revenue for all six New England states.

Once Upon a time….

The Pequot War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot & Mohegan Tribes. Over 350 years after, both tribes started the New England Casino expansion we see today.

The Pequot War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot & Mohegan Tribes. Over 350 years after, both tribes started the New England Casino expansion we see today.

The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe, but war with colonists, differences with other tribes, and different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day.  Over 250 years later, a bingo hall in 1985 began the history of gaming in New England.

I should mention that casino gambling found a home in the 1800’s in Newport, Rhode Island, not to mention the numerous greyhound & horse tracks, parimutuel parlors, and Jai alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI. However, in the past ten years, the horse-racing industry has seen a major decrease in raceway operations, Jai-Alai has moved out of the state, and parimutuel parlors continue to diminish in popularity, which may change with more legal sports betting in all six states

I you enjoy my look back at the journey of legalized gambling in New England below.

The New England Casino Historical Dateline:

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo. This picture is the expanded Bingo Hall before Casino Expansion

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo. This picture is the expanded Bingo Hall before Casino Expansion in 1992.


1992

The first New England Casino as Foxwoods opens its doors in Mashantucket, CT

The Rainmaker at Foxwoods Resort Casino - part of the original casino before many expansions.

The Rainmaker at Foxwoods Resort Casino – part of the original casino before many expansions.

Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (classII) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.


1996

The Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening


2005

Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine


2007

Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming; Newport Grand soon follows, redesigning without Jai-Alai

Twin River as Lincoln Park before Major Expansion

Twin River as Lincoln Park before Major Expansion


2008

MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods – Right side.


2011

MA legislature approves Expanded Gaming Act allowing construction of 3 Resort casinos & one “slot’s only casino”


2012

Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine


2013

MGM pulls out of it’s Foxwoods partnership

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods


2015

Plainridge Park Casino Opens at Plainridge Raceway as the first Massachusetts casino (slots-only)

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts


2018

     A Big Year for Gambling, Casinos and Hotels in           New England:

Oxford Casino, Oxford ME, adds Hotel, expanded casino and Ox Pu

Oxford Hotel & Casino

MGM Springfield Resort Casino opens

MGM Springfield

Newport Grand Slots Casino closes

Newport Grand Slots, Newport, RI

Tiverton Casino & Hotel opens

Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

Twin River Casino adds Hotel

Twin River Hotel Lobby

Mohegan Sun opens Earth Expo Center

Mohegan Expo Center

Rhode Island approves and opens the first Sports Betting in New England

Opening day of Phase I Sports Book at Twin River Casino


2019

Encore Boston Harbor to open in the fall

Encore Boston Harbor rendition, courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor pressroom


You can find this post as a permanent menu item in our header above.

Binbin

New England Casino Awards – Final Analysis of 2018

There were some different winners in our awards this year, but not exactly what we thought they would be. With MGM Springfield on the scene, I assumed that it would be well represented.  Instead, Mohegan Sun added to it’s New England prominence. Here is our analysis:

BEST HOTEL – With the most rooms and most variations in room decor and layout, it has to be Foxwoods.  Even with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for over a year, Tiverton’s opening including hotel and the opening of MGM Springfield, Foxwoods is still the best choice for hotels. MGM Springfield’s Hotel is one of a kind, and we highly recommend trying a stay there.  The many intricacies of Springfield history can be found through out the casino and continued in the Hotel decor.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos

BARS –  When it comes to places for libations, there are two types in casinos.  First, the typical bar, sometimes with entertainment, usually offers great drinks and dining options. The video poker bar is an important gambling choice provided, usually including slots, keno and sometimes electronic blackjack.  Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun tied in this category, and why not with so many bars and VP bars available in their multiple casinos.  But it should be mentioned that MGM Springfield’s Walk-up Bar and Commonwealth Bar have terrific ambiance.  Now, if only they had playable video poker…….

Commonwealth Bar at MGM Springfield

BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE  – Our voters pretty much nailed this. Mohegan Sun offers the gamut on one property, especially in the area of lower cost eateries.  But, I also feel when considering just high end restaurants, Foxwoods would edge out the competition. However, even the fun establishments such as Sugar are in the hefty price range at Foxwoods. Since we visit all New England Casinos, some restaurants need some mention. Tiverton Casino’s Tuscan Chophouse and Italian cuisine at Trattoria Romana are great restaurants with local ties. When it comes to great steak houses, New England’s casinos offer a wide variety of excellent steakhouses.  Consider MGM’s Chandler Steakhouse, Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun, Cedars and David Burke’s Prime at Foxwoods, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River and Slack’s Oyster House & Grill at Plainridge Park for your next beef bonanza.

Again, NETG applauds the voters in selecting David Burke Prime as outstanding high-end restaurant.  It has everything you’d fine in the best eateries in Las Vegas.

David Burke Prime, Foxwoods

BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun is hands down the #1 favorite. The Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends. But free entertainment has increased at other properties.  Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium Lounge, Hard Rock Cafe and Centrale.  Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. Speaking of comedy, Roar! at MGM Springfield’s Armory and Mohegan Sun’s Comix leads the way.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield’s MassMutual Center, Mohegan Sun Arena is still the best venue in New England.

Mohegan Sun Arena

BEST SLOTS – I think it’s simple – wherever you win is where your preferred slots are. No one knows the payback percentage, and a slot players play is very short play and really can’t give anyone a good idea on how high the payout is. Most casinos have the same newest slots.  But what I found interesting was the lack of Buffalo slots or Wheel of Fortune machines mentioned! Instead, Wonder Woman?  who’d a thunk it?

BEST VIDEO POKER – Mohegan Sun is the only New England Casino to offer full pay VP – Jacks or Better – at the quarter level up. As long as they offer it, the Sun will continue to be the best VP in New England.  We know from experience at their other properties that Wynn & MGM will never offer Full Pay VP, rarely even at $1 levels.  So, this award may be good through 2020.  Decent VP paytables can be found at Plainridge Park and Foxwoods.

TABLE GAMES – Players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games.  In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun had this covered, but recently have raised minimums and introduced 6:5 Blackjack.  Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Twin River & Tiverton offer table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10, and MGM Springfield has lowered minimums to be more competitive. While Mohegan Sun won this time, it will be anyone’s game in the future as all casinos seem to be offering the same games, same minimums and same rules.

MGM Springfield Poker Room – most comfy in New England?

An interesting change has been seen in two areas – favorite game and poker rooms.  Craps has taken over as the popular table game in the casino. And when it comes to poker rooms, MGM Springfield, with what is now considered the most comfy poker room in New England,  has made a great run at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the point that all thee poker rooms, as well as Twin River Casino’s poker room, are in a dead heat right now. Mohegan Sun is down-sizing its poker room and moving it to a different casino area, which could really change the feel of their poker room. You can bet that poker is alive and well in New England.

BEST RACEBOOK/SPORTSBOOK – The Sun won this category last year, with Foxwoods winning this year. Rhode Island’s legal sportsbook must have been too new for most to be counted this year. When Twin River open their real betting area, it could easily win next year, unless CT and MA approves legal sports-betting this year

BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun.  MLife at MGM Springfield could be a big players club in the coming years with properties on both east & west coast – especially access to Las Vegas Strip properties.

Thanks to all who participated this year.  It’s always fun.  What changes are in store this year?  We’ll just have to wait……

Binbin