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Responsible Gaming6 August 2003
Although the casino industry works every day to educate and assist people regarding problem gambling, creating a week to focus on the issue serves as an excellent way to bring more attention to the issue. The AGA sponsors "Responsible Gaming Education Week" annually in order to encourage gaming industry employees, customers and the public to increase their awareness of responsible gaming and disordered gambling.
"Responsible Gaming Education Week" was started in 1998 by the industry's national trade association, AGA, and is held every year during the first week of August. It is part of AGA's ongoing Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign and represents the industry's long-term commitment to this issue.
This year's program will center on the newly redesigned "Keeping it Fun" brochure, and will enlist participating company employees and entertainers to assist in the education campaign.
The AGA website will also offer an increased amount of materials and activities during "Responsible Gaming Education Week." Articles, speeches and summaries on the topic of responsible gaming can be found at www.americangaming.org. In addition, you will find a quiz created by the AGA regarding responsible gaming, promotional kits and tools to spread awareness, a question and answer segment on responsible gaming and printed discussions concerning the most efficient ways to address problem and under-age gambling, along with many other educational tools.
Like many other forms of addiction, people who suffer from a gambling addiction sometimes have a tough time recognizing the problem. The National Council on Problem Gambling has identified the following warning signs of compulsive gambling:
1. Have you often gambled longer than you had planned?
2. Have you often gambled until your last dollar was gone?
3. Have thoughts of gambling caused you to lose sleep?
4. Have you used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid?
5. Have you made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling?
6. Have you broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling?
7. Have you borrowed money to finance your gambling?
8. Have you felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses?
9. Have you been remorseful after gambling?
10. Have you gambled to get money to meet your financial obligations?
If you or someone you know answers "Yes" to any of these questions, consider seeking assistance from a professional regarding this gambling behavior.
When drafting Michigan's gaming laws and regulations, State of Michigan lawmakers took the issue of compulsive gaming laws and regulations very seriously. The Michigan Compulsive Gaming Prevention Act created the Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund and specified that revenues shall be deposited into the fund from: 1) the three Detroit casinos; 2) the Michigan Lottery and 3) the Michigan Horse Racing Industry. The Fund receives approximately $2.2 million in revenues annually.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has established a toll-free Compulsive Gambling Help Line at (800) 270-7117. This line is available around the clock, and all calls are confidential. The MDCH has supplied new brochures, wallet cards and church bulletin inserts which addresses compulsive gambling issues. Various billboards in vicinity of the Detroit casinos also alert drivers to the dangers of compulsive gambling and urge people to call the help line if they have a problem.
To help those who believe they have a problem with gambling, the Michigan Gaming Control Board, with the assistance of Detroit's commercial casinos, has developed a list of Disassociated Persons, pursuant to Michigan Law (MCL 432.225). Participation in the Disassociated Persons program is completely voluntary - no one but the voluntary participant may be added to the list. Persons placed on the List voluntarily pledge never to visit a Detroit casino, and are legally banned from doing so.
The casino industry's willingness - even eagerness - to tackle the issue of disordered gambling should be appreciated. Those involved in the industry understand the importance of education, particularly concerning a topic as serious as problem gambling. Compulsive and problem gambling does exist, and although these disorders are uncommon, they can be devastating. If you or someone you know has a problem, please find help - it is out there.
Additional information regarding compulsive gambling and treatment programs can be found at the following websites:
- Michigan Department of Community Health - www.michigan.gov/mdch
- Michigan Department of Community Health - www.teengambler.com
- Michigan Council on Problem Gambling - www.ncpgambling.org
- American Gaming Association - www.americangaming.org
- National Center for Responsible Gaming - www.ncrg.org
- National Council on Problem Gambling - www.ncpgambling.org