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Gaming Guru

 

Gaming Industry Continues to Proactively Address Problem Gambling

4 January 2006

A very familiar face in television advertisements the past few weeks has been Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman. The ads explain the importance of responsible gaming and give guidance on how to seek help, if needed.

Harrah's has a long history as a pioneer with regard to the issue of problem gambling. Over 10 years ago, Harrah's implemented its first task force to study the issue. Additionally, Harrah's has very vocally advocated the involvement of others within the industry, and has used its influence to assure that the American Gaming Association ("AGA") plays an active role.

The AGA developed the Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming, a complete set of guidelines governing employee and customer education, underage gambling, alcohol service, advertising and research. The code is a commitment to employees, patrons and the public to make responsible gaming an integral part of daily operations.

In 1999, the AGA created the Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign, an industry wide umbrella program focused on educating casino employees and the public about responsible gaming. This campaign, which continues to expand, includes a variety of elements. The AGA has created informational materials, such as the Responsible Gaming Resource Guide, the PROGRESS Kit, and the association's flagship responsible gaming brochure, Keeping it Fun: A Guide to Responsible Gaming. As part of this effort, the AGA also developed several public and employee education programs, such as Responsible Gaming Education Week, held annually the first week of August since 1998, and the Responsible Gaming Lecture Series, launched in 2001 to bring responsible gaming experts to gaming jurisdictions nationwide.

In addition, AGA members provided funding in 1996 for the creation of the National Center for Responsible Gaming ("NCRG"), an independent, nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to public education about and funding of peer-reviewed research on disordered gambling. Since its inception, funding for the NCRG has reached more than $13 million, awarding more than $8 million in grants to support research on gambling disorders.

Unlike many other industries that have addiction-related problems, the gaming industry has long taken an aggressive, proactive approach to make sure people gamble at casinos for the right reasons, and not out of compulsion. For this, the industry deserves praise and recognition. Harrah's, in particular, has been a true leader on this front and should be emulated.

Gambling is supposed to be a fun activity engaged in with discretionary spending. It is, after all, a widely popular form of entertainment. The vast majority of casino customers understand this, and can gamble responsibly without a problem. Various studies have suggested that one to two percent of the population may have problems. Often, those who have gambling problems also have problems with other addictive behaviors. The key is to identify those who have problems, and to get them help. Voluntary exclusion lists, counseling programs, and educational programs developed by the industry all help achieve this result.

A national helpline is available for problem gambling. Assistance with local counseling and support anywhere in the U.S. is available by calling 1-800-522-4700.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com