Sun, Mar 5, 9:32am by Staff Writer
MGM Resorts International, the world’s second-largest casino management corporation, will become the first to voluntarily offer the responsible gambling education program GameSense on a wide scale.
Created in 2009 by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), the GameSense program expands on other responsible gambling models by educating gamblers about the true odds and probabilities associated with casino games. The idea is to teach players who may be prone to gambling exactly how pokie machines pay out, the role of the house edge, and other concepts that may help them make more informed decisions.
To that end, GameSense information centres are placed within all casinos in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and players have access to a 24/7 telephone help-line, and several self-service kiosks are located throughout each property.
Meeting at the New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference in Vancouver, MGM and BCLC executives signed an agreement to begin providing GameSense services in all North American MGM-owned casino venues.
Currently, casino properties operating under the MGM umbrella adhere to American Gaming Association (AGA) Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming. And while GameSense shares many components of the AGA model, such as allowing admitted problem gamblers to “self-limit” their wagering activity, it has been received far more favourably by players during previous trials.
In a jointly issued statement, Alan Feldman – who serves as MGM Resorts International Executive Vice President of Global Industry Affairs – praised GameSense as the wave of the future for responsible gambling advocacy:
“MGM is excited to adopt the GameSense platform and to form this dynamic research enterprise.
Our vision for GameSense is to transform the guest experience at our properties by providing a program that is rooted in enhanced customer service, player education, and leading research.”
Jim Lightbody, the President and CEO of the BCLC, outlined his vision for what will be a major expansion of GameSense’s reach:
“We believe it’s our role to take the lead in providing better responsible gambling programming that supports our players, helps reduce harm and strengthens the gaming industry as a whole.
We are thrilled MGM Resorts recognises the value of our GameSense program, and wants to align with us to further the positive role it can play in reducing gambling-related harm.”
The rollout of GameSense is set to begin this year, and MGM expects GameSense will be “fully integrated into all of its properties across the USA within the year.” That includes prominent casinos like the Bellagio, Aria, and MGM Grand – plus seven others – on the Las Vegas Strip, along with major U.S. venues like Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the under-construction MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.
In February of 2015, the Massachusetts State Gaming Commission (MSGC) mandated that all casino properties there provide GameSense services. Within months, the state’s Plainridge Park Casino became the first American casino to install the program.
Per the latest MSGC annual report, 87.7 percent of survey respondents reported that their main concern had been resolved after consulting a GameSense Info Centre, or conversing with a GameSense advisor. Additionally, 82 percent of GameSense users reported that they would give the product a second look.
In another aspect of the agreement, MGM will commit USD$1 million over the next five years to fund joint research project between itself, BCLC, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute.
MGM and BCLC have stated that this research project is designed to “enhance GameSense and all responsible gambling products based on new, data-driven, scientifically-based expertise in responsible gambling.”
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