WASHINGTON, D.C. — Casino properties and gaming equipment manufacturers from New Jersey to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Nevada kicked off the casino entertainment industry’s first annual “Responsible Gaming Education Week” today with employee education activities designed to raise awareness about problem gambling and the importance of responsible gaming practices.
Among the many activities taking place during this week sponsored by the American Gaming Association (AGA) are the following:
Several companies this week introduced new employee training on responsible gaming. Grand Casinos, Inc. has developed two training modules — “Compulsive Gambling: Red Flags and Referrals” and “Underage Gambling: A Bad Bet for Casinos.” The training modules, which are CD-ROM-based with video content, are available to all employees companywide and required for certain job functions within the casinos, such as security. Harrah’s Atlantic City (N.J.) also began to include a training module on unattended children as part of its new hire orientation.
Managers and supervisors at the Reno (Nev.) Hilton are attending two mandatory workshops on addictions conducted by Dr. Gary Rubinstein, an expert in compulsive disorders from the University of Nevada-Reno. The workshops will be videotaped and shown to all employees.
At Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, help line phone numbers have been permanently posted at casino cages and credit card cash machines. This week, as an additional reminder, the phone numbers also are displayed on employee casino pit telephones and on employee telephones in departments that work directly with customers, such as Casino Services.
One of the industry’s ongoing initiatives, Project 21 — an idea conceived by Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. to teach casino employees, minors, parents and guardians about the consequences of underage gambling — will showcase its latest efforts during Responsible Gaming Education Week. Harrah’s, along with Primadonna Resorts, Showboat Las Vegas, Hotel San Remo, New York, New York and Arizona Charlie’s, are hosting a luncheon Aug. 6 in Las Vegas at which 10 scholarships will be awarded to young people for a Project 21 poster and essay contest.
Public officials nationwide also have expressed their support for the industry’s initiative. Gov. Bob Miller declared Aug. 3-7 “Nevada Responsible Gaming Education Week,” joining Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull, who issued a similar proclamation. The mayors of Reno, Nev.; Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss.; Kinder and Oakdale, La.; and Bullhead City, Ariz., also have issued proclamations in their localities.
Responsible Gaming Education Week is part of an ongoing industrywide effort spearheaded by the AGA to educate casino employees and customers about the importance of responsible gaming and the problem of disordered gambling.
“What we’re seeing during Responsible Gaming Education Week is an intensive focus on employee education activities to make everyone more aware of this important issue,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., AGA president and CEO. “When this week is over, our employees will be more knowledgeable about problem gambling and the resources out there to help — knowledge that will help us do our business better year-round and help us do our part to reduce the incidence of problem gambling.”
Activities leading up to this week have included the distribution to casino employees nationwide of more than 230,000 educational brochures prepared by the AGA and financed by International Game Technology (IGT); a contest sponsored by the AGA and Grand Casinos Inc., which is donating prize money, to solicit from employees their best ideas to promote responsible gaming practices; and employee briefings. Copies of the educational brochure also were sent to every member of the U.S. Congress.
The casino entertainment industry donates millions of dollars every year toward responsible gaming programs and related charitable causes, including the National Center for Responsible Gaming, state councils on problem gambling and addiction treatment centers. Since its inception in 1995, the AGA has promoted responsible gaming practices among its member companies through public education campaigns, seminars and publications, including the Responsible Gaming Resource Guide, a compilation of the best programs, approaches and ideas available to deal with problem and underage gambling.
The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing regulatory, legislative and educational issues. The association serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops aggressive educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on issues of public concern.