WASHINGTON—The American Gaming Association (AGA) and more than 100 casino and gaming companies across the nation are encouraging employees, patrons and the public to “Be Responsible. Get Educated.”during the ninth annual Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), which begins today. The theme of this year’s event, scheduled for Aug. 7-11, expresses the gaming industry’s dedication to providing employees with thorough responsible gaming education and training throughout the year.
One of the most visible components of this year’s awareness effort will be the more than 140,000 “Keep it Fun” responsible gaming awareness wristbands that already have been sold in preparation for RGEW 2006. The easily recognizable bright orange wristbands, available in both English and Spanish versions, debuted during RGEW 2005 and have been popular among gaming industry employees and patrons. Proceeds from sales of the wristbands, which sell for $1 apiece, continue to support the National Center for Responsible Gaming, the only organization devoted exclusively to public education about and funding of peer-reviewed research on disordered gambling.
“The ‘Be Responsible. Get Educated.’ theme for this year’s campaign is about empowerment. We want our employees to step up and take the fullest advantage of the educational resources the AGA and their employers are offering,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “Providing our employees with the education, awareness tools and training resources they need to be thoroughly informed about responsible gaming is just one important way we as an industry show our continuing commitment to promoting responsible gaming and addressing disordered and underage gambling.”
The AGA has developed a number of additional materials to enhance the responsible gaming training efforts of individual companies and help them to promote RGEW among their employees, including a new responsible gaming activities workbook comprised of some of the AGA’s popular education tools, including quizzes and word games. The workbook also includes a special sneak preview of EMERGE (Executive, Management & Employee Responsible Gaming Education), a Web-based training program developed by the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders that will be launched in the near future.
Throughout the week, the AGA Web site will feature an online responsible gaming quiz, available in both English and Spanish and accessible from the AGA homepage (www.americangaming.org). And, as it does every year, the AGA has created buttons, stickers and ribbons for members to make available to their employees to help promote RGEW 2006, and individual properties will display and provide copies of important responsible gaming education materials to employees as well as customers throughout their properties. All of the AGA’s responsible gaming educational and promotional materials are available in both English and Spanish.
RGEW 2006 also marks the beginning of a focused effort to increase the involvement in responsible gaming training opportunities and education of minority employees within the gaming-entertainment industry and the leaders of minority organizations in gaming communities. In the coming months, the AGA and its member companies will be meeting and working with minority organizations, both national and local, to further refine responsible gaming programs and educational materials to best suit the specific cultural needs of gaming employees. Part of this effort will be to produce responsible gaming awareness and education materials, now are available in English and Spanish, in other languages as well.
In conjunction with the coordinated nationwide activities occurring during RGEW 2006, individual casinos and gaming companies are incorporating additional creative ways to provide education and training and increase awareness about responsible gaming throughout the week, including:
• Boyd Gaming properties will provide informal refresher training on responsible gaming and hold employee contests focused on responsible gaming-related topics.
• MGM MIRAGE’s Bellagio will sell the “Keep it Fun” wristbands in its retail areas and run banner and video monitor announcements about RGEW in its employee areas. Other MGM MIRAGE properties will set up special booths in employee dining areas to distribute educational materials and run a raffle for employees who participate in a responsible gaming quiz.
• Each day, Station Casinos employees will learn about a different responsible gaming-related topic during team meetings. Station properties also will post the message “Keep it Fun – Please Gamble Responsibly” on the large electronic signs in front of their properties and will display responsible gaming brochures at all ATMs and cage areas in the casinos.
“Promoting responsible gaming is a year-round commitment that our industry takes very seriously. What you see during RGEW is a collection of the learning and awareness efforts our employees participate in every day,” Fahrenkopf said. “We’re proud that our employees take the opportunity during RGEW to acquire further education and demonstrate their support for promoting awareness about responsible gaming practices.”
Responsible Gaming Education Week was developed in 1998 as part of the Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign, a long-term, comprehensive program spearheaded by the AGA. RGEW is designed to heighten awareness of responsible gaming and disordered gambling among employees, patrons and the general public.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) is the national trade association for the commercial casino industry. In addition to representing the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues, the AGA serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.
The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) affiliated charity. Founded in 1996 as a separate 501(c)3 charitable organization, the NCRG’s mission is to support peer-reviewed, scientific research into pathological gambling and provide scientifically-based responsible gaming education and outreach programs to casino communities nationwide. For more information, visit www.ncrg.org.
NCRG funds provide money to researchers from around the globe to increase understanding of pathological gambling and its impact, and to find effective methods of treatment for the disorder. Grant-making responsibilities are handled by the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, a program of the Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information, visit www.divisiononaddictions.org/institute.
The Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders is a program of the Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. In accordance with the Harvard University name policy, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders should not be referred to as the “Harvard Institute…” or the “Harvard Medical School Institute…” For more information about the use of the Harvard name, visit http://www.techtransfer.harvard.edu/UseOfName.html.