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Gaming Guru

 

Responsible Gaming Education

7 August 2002

"Although research has found the number of people who suffer from gambling-related disorders very small, I believe it is vitally important for all stakeholders in the gaming industry to take a proactive approach to disordered gambling by encouraging problem gambling awareness and education." This statement was made by International Game Technology (IGT) President Tom Baker and seems to sum up the sentiments of nearly everyone involved with the gaming industry, be it from the perspective of a gaming executive, employee or patron. Because the industry feels a need to address issues confronting it, the American Gaming Association (AGA) created "Responsible Gaming Education Week," in 1998.

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 this event 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 created by the casino industry's trade group, the AGA, as a part of its "Responsible Gaming National Educations Campaign," which came about in 1998. Individuals within the gaming industry saw a need to address issues confronting gambling that often tend to be common misperceptions. The AGA's website informs us that, "More than a decade before the AGA was created in 1995, gaming industry leaders were implementing employee and public education programs to increase awareness of disordered gambling." Moreover, the biggest contributors in the effort to promote responsible gaming are the casinos themselves. Many casino throughout the country will be promoting responsible gaming through activities and events during "Responsible Gaming Education Week."

The AGA's website will also offer an increased amount of materials and activities during "Responsible Gaming Education Week." Among articles, speeches and summaries on the topic of responsible gaming, at www.americangaming.org you will also find information about the AGA's "Responsible Gaming Lecture Series." The Series offers expert speakers at different venues throughout the country addressing gaming industry employees, officials, patrons and the general pubic on the topic. 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.

Further, the AGA also has helped create many valuable resources to address disordered gambling including the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG). The trade group has been passionate and serious about educating employees working in the gaming sector, as well as the public, about the importance of responsible gaming practice. The AGA, in addition to its "Responsible Gaming Lecture Series," has also conducted "Responsible Gaming Certification" workshops at various casino industry trade shows. The organization is consistently trying to suggest programs and techniques that can be implemented by any casino to assist in addressing this issue. Also, the AGA offers a wide range of research and publications regarding responsible gaming, including the Responsible Gaming Resource Guide, and the PROGRESS (Promoting Responsible Gaming Resources & Education Standards) kit. According to the AGA's website, the kit is, "a multimedia package containing all the tools necessary to launch a comprehensive responsible gaming program" Finally, the AGA created Responsible Gaming Quarterly (RGQ). RCQ is a newsletter that reports on current research results, new studies and information and articles addressing the topic of responsible gaming.

Those involved with the industry in support of responsible gaming education do not simply support the cause with educational techniques, but also with financial contributions to further the cause. IGT has made a $400,000 contribution to the NCRG in support of responsible gaming education research. The company has donated another $94,000 to the NCRG to be used for events, conferences, awareness promotions and regional problem gambling organizations. Moreover, IGT is the only gaming equipment manufacturer in the world that has a full-time employee dealing solely with responsible gaming. The position exquisitely illustrates how important this issue is to the gaming industry as a whole, and as gaming grows, so too will the awareness of disordered gambling. IGT President Tom Baker stated, "As a member of the gaming industry, IGT sees responsible gaming as a critical component of our business. We are committed to minimizing disordered gambling by supporting the AGA during this important week."

The Detroit Windsor casino operators, through the Casino Management Association (CMA), keep abreast of disordered gambling developments, new studies and information and general education regarding problem gambling. Each Fall and Spring the CMA offers a series of five workshops geared to educate casino industry employees on a wide variety of topics pertinent to their work and workplace. At least one workshop in each series deals with disordered gambling, its effects, how to spot it and so on. Expert panel speakers address those attending through discussions of recent findings, past experiences, documented studies and more. It is essential for all gaming markets offer some sort of educational program addressing disordered gambling, its effects and consequences, and the CMA is an important part of the educational process in the DetroitWindsor market.

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. The gaming industry continues to address the issues, confronting them head-on, without attempting to hide anything. The efforts of the AGA, companies like IGT and the DetroitWindsor Chapter of the CMA need to be applauded for their aggressive approach in addressing the problem of disordered gambling.

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