WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 500 employees from casino properties nationwide participated in the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) “Best Ideas” contest held during Responsible Gaming Education Week (Aug. 3-7).
Responsible Gaming Education Week was part of the industry’s ongoing Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign and featured a number of activities at more than 140 casino properties employing in excess of 200,000 people. The “Best Ideas” contest was comprised of five categories: best slogan, essay, education program, fund-raising program and original idea to promote responsible gaming.
The following winners in each category will receive $1,000 from Grand Casinos, Inc., which donated $5,000 toward the contest: **
Michael Boudreau, an information systems manager with Harveys Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa, submitted the “best slogan” – “If you play with real dollars, play with real sense.”
Zachary Bambacht, a human resources generalist with Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Ill., submitted the “best essay” – Bambacht noted in his essay that “… It is important for companies to develop responsible gaming programs to preserve as well as strengthen their place in the community. By promoting responsible gaming, casinos and communities will derive the most from their mutually beneficial partnerships.”
JoAnn Jones, a marketing department manager with Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Mo., submitted the “best fund-raising program” – “Chip in a Chip” would provide gamers with the opportunity to donate gaming chips for the benefit of disordered gambling councils or programs.
Carol Conley-Klahorst, a hostess with Showboat Casino/Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., submitted the “best original idea” – Printed materials distributed to casino patrons such as garage tickets, hotel key holders and/or brochures, bus discount passes and the like would include the 3R checklist:
- Remember: adults only (21) in casinos
- Reasonable: betting limits (budget)
- Responsibility: for child care (children)
Jo Ann Thompson, a slot analyst with Bally’s Casino Lakeshore Resort in New Orleans, submitted the “best education program” – “Earn While You Learn” would provide casino employees with a “passport” booklet with which they could track their involvement in responsible gaming activities. Casino companies could offer incentives for employees who reach certain plateaus of activity.
“This contest not only got industry employees involved in the process,” said AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. “it has allowed us to gather ideas from the people who are in the best position to judge what would be effective – those who are working the casino floors, interacting directly with customers. We expect that their ideas will be helpful as we continue our efforts to educate our employees and customers about the importance of responsible gaming practices.”
Tom Brosig, president and CEO of Grand Casinos, Inc. said, “As far as we’re concerned, the prize money was well spent. We’ve received some great new ideas to incorporate into our existing programs, and we’ve gotten our employees involved. Anything we can do to raise awareness of responsible gaming among industry employees will pay dividends in the long run.”
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.