- MGM staff will be trained to intervene with players in crisis
- GameSense program to be rolled out across MGM casinos
MGM Resorts International has made its strongest indication yet that it is getting tough on problem gambling by announcing that MGM staff will be trained in the GameSense program, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
MGM becomes the first US casino brand to license GameSense for use in its venues. The program will be launched in Nevada initially, and rolled out to all existing and planned properties in the coming months.
Responsible gambling training will begin in October, reports have confirmed.
What is GameSense?
The GameSense program was created by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, along with the Government of British Columbia, in 1985. The BCLC uses a portion of gambling revenues to develop support services for problem gamblers and educational resources for operators and lawmakers, and GameSense was one such successful initiative which has caught the eye of international operators.
The GameSense program involves establishing a physical presence at casinos, with help kiosks and clear signs that direct players to support services.
It also includes mandatory training for all employees who work directly with the customers, helping those staff spot problem gambling behaviors and offer support where appropriate.
Concerns over ‘intrusive’ program
Opposition to the new GameSense methods are likely to come from players themselves, who prefer discretion and privacy when they gamble and who might take offense at being wrongfully labeled a ‘problem gambler’.
However, MGM will make clear to staff that balance is needed when applying GameSense training. “Defining what someone’s problem is can’t possibly be the realm of casino employees,” said the group’s executive VP Alan Feldman. “As long as they’re both able to afford [gambling] and are enjoying it, that’s their business and their choice.”
MGM’s commitment to GameSense will also include data sharing obligations. The group will work with the International Gaming Institute, Harvard University and University of British Columbia to supply critical data on levels of play, rates of problem play and on the impact of the responsible gaming policy itself. In Nevada, where MGM will begin using the program initially, there is an estimated 3.6% addiction prevalence rate among gamblers.
The data will reveal if use of GameSense has helped MGM reach its target of 85% responsible players.
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