Industry Leaders Announce Campaign to Raise Funds for Public Education
LAS VEGAS— Proudly displaying new “Keep it Fun” responsible gaming awareness wristbands, gaming industry executives and employees today declared “We’re Banding Together to Keep it Fun,” to kick off the eighth annual Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW). Representatives from the American Gaming Association (AGA) and the National Center for Responsible Gaming  (NCRG) launched the “Keep it Fun” wristband campaign at a kick-off event hosted by the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. Casinos nationwide will observe RGEW Aug. 1-5.
RGEW 2005 centers on the theme, “We’re Banding Together to Keep it Fun,” which links all gaming stakeholders – operators, manufacturers, employees, gaming customers, regulators, legislators, treatment professionals and others – in a common effort to promote responsible gaming. Available in both English an Spanish versions, the bright orange awareness wristbands, displaying the message “Keep it Fun,” are individually packaged and accompanied by a card explaining the “Keep it Fun” message, the importance of promoting responsible gaming and how to get more information.
“AGA member companies have always considered RGEW to be an important reminder of the significance of the responsible gaming activities we undertake year round,” said Terry Lanni, chairman of the AGA and chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE . “With the ‘Banding Together’ campaign, it’s our goalto make these ‘Keep it Fun’ awareness wristbands the most highly visible commitment of the industry to responsible gaming.”
AGA member companies are making “Keep it Fun” wristbands available to their employees to be worn throughout the week and beyond. The AGA also is providing wristbands to gaming regulators nationwide and several casinos are distributing them to local politicians as part of the “Banding Together” campaign. Many companies also are placing advertisements for RGEW to draw attention to responsible gaming issues.
All proceeds from the sale of “Keep it Fun” wristbands will be donated to the NCRG, the only national organization devoted exclusively to public education about and funding of peer-reviewed research on disordered gambling. The NCRG has earmarked the money from this campaign to be used in support of local responsible gaming programs. So far, 130,000 wristbands have been purchased.
“Keep it Fun” wristbands are available for purchase through multiple venues, with some casinos selling them in their retail establishments. The AGA will make wristbands available for purchase at conferences and events across the country, including the annual conferences of the NCRG and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reed Exhibitions, the AGA’s partner in producing Global Gaming Expo (G2E), is marketing the wristbands on their Web site and will be selling them at G2E in September. “Keep it Fun” wristbands also are available for order through the AGA Web site for $1 apiece, with a minimum of 10 wristbands per order.
“The wristband campaign is the largest-scale effort we have undertaken to increase responsible gaming awareness among not only our employees and patrons, but among the public at large,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the AGA. “The ‘Banding Together’ campaign combines the gaming-entertainment industry’s determination to find new and innovative ways to raise awareness with a retail campaign that creates funding for responsible gaming programs in communities across the nation.”
In addition to the “Keep it Fun” wristbands, the AGA has developed a host of other responsible gaming materials ranging from promotional buttons and stickers to “test-your-knowledge” quizzes and games for members to make available to their employees. Casinos also will supply copies of important responsible gaming educational materials, including the “Keeping it Fun: A Guide to Responsible Gaming” brochure, to customers and employees throughout their properties.
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), the only national organization devoted exclusively to public education about and funding of peer-reviewed research on disordered gambling, was established in 1996. The NCRG supports the finest peer-reviewed basic and applied research on gambling disorders; encourages the application of new research findings to improve prevention, diagnostic intervention and treatment strategies; and enhances public awareness of pathological and youth gambling. To date, the casino industry and related businesses have committed nearly $15 million to this effort, and the NCRG has issued more than $11 million in support of groundbreaking research on gambling disorders. In 2000, the NCRG established the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders at Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions. For more information, visit www.ncrg.org .