The casino gaming industry has long implemented employee and public education programs to increase awareness of gambling disorders and promote responsible gaming practices, both at the company and industrywide levels. When the AGA was established in 1995, responsible gaming was a primary concern, and the organization developed broad industrywide responsible gaming programs to streamline and build upon gaming companies’ existing individual programs.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation, for example, has been a leader in this area, promoting responsible gaming since the early 1980s through its Operation Bet Smart© and Project 21© programs for patrons and employees. These programs have been so successful that Caesars has licensed them to many other casino companies for use at their own properties.
In 1996, AGA members made history when they provided funding for the creation of the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), the first and only national organization exclusively devoted to funding peer-reviewed scientific research that helps increase understanding of pathological and youth gambling and finds effective methods of treatment for the disorder and to conducting public education about responsible gaming research.
To date, more than $22 million has been committed to the NCRG through contributions from the casino gaming industry, equipment manufacturers, vendors, related organizations and individuals. The NCRG funds groundbreaking research in the field of gambling disorders and responsible gaming and works with the AGA to develop practical, real-world applications for research findings, such employee training and education tools, resources for parents and mentors, and reference guides for responsible gaming stakeholders.
Shortly after the creation of the NCRG, the AGA, in 1997, created the Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign, an industrywide umbrella program focused on educating casino employees and the public about responsible gaming. This campaign, which continues to expand, includes a variety of elements. The AGA has created informational materials and the association’s flagship responsible gaming brochure, “Keeping it Fun: A Guide to Responsible Gaming.” As part of this effort, the AGA also has developed several public and employee education programs, such as Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), held annually during the first week of August since 1998.
In 2003, the AGA board of directors enacted the AGA Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming, a complete set of guidelines governing employee and customer education, underage gambling, alcohol service, advertising and research. The code is a commitment to employees, patrons and the public to make responsible gaming an integral part of daily operations. All AGA member companies maintain their businesses in compliance with the code.
Another principle of responsible gaming that has taken hold over the years is the gaming industry’s commitment to remaining transparent about the odds of casino games and how they are operated. The AGA has supported this effort through public education resources like “The House Advantage: A Guide to Understanding the Odds” and “Taking the Mystery Out of the Machine: A Guide to Understanding Slot Machines.”
The industry continues to innovate to address responsible gaming, and as new products and technologies take hold, the industry will develop new strategies and materials to promote all aspects of responsible gaming.