With a burgeoning casino industry, Massachusetts gaming industry leaders gathered during the 21st annual Responsible Gaming Education Week to discuss how they view responsible gaming as not just a pledge, but a priority.
Stephen Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, began by sharing how when he took his role as chairman, he knew little about the industry, and as a result he was curious if casinos would be proactive partners on responsible gaming efforts. Since then, Crosby has seen firsthand that the industry “does take the [responsible gaming] issue seriously,” and is “tremendously collaborative” in responsibility efforts.
Later in the discussion, Crosby remarked that funding for responsibility programs and research would soon be increased to $15-20 million because of the introduction of casino gaming to the state—up from $1 million in funding when gambling was restricted exclusively to the lottery.
Alan Feldman, executive vice president of MGM Resorts International, stressed the importance of finding a balance between harm minimization and healthy behavior maximization, emphasizing the need to educate the public on the risk involved in gambling and how to identify signs of problem gambling. He added that casino operators have prioritized this issue by being the top funders of peer-reviewed research on problem gambling over the last two decades.
Russell Sanna, executive director at the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), observed that gambling has always been part of the world’s social fabric—the questions are: “what is it that people are doing that allows them to enjoy gaming [normally],” and “what is going on at the service level” where we can better engage those that may need help. If we can solve those two questions, Sanna says, we can amplify our impact on responsibility in gaming.
The event also highlighted AGA’s updated Code of Conduct and AGA’s Responsible Gaming Collaborative, both of which represent a membership-wide commitment to holding the industry to the highest standards of responsible gaming.
Additional panelists included Jim Baldacci, deputy chief compliance officer, Penn National Gaming; Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs, American Gaming Association; and Marlene Warner, executive director, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling and president of the board of directors for the National Council on Problem Gambling.
- Opinion: Responsible betting is a priority for gaming backers in Massachusetts, Dorchester Reporter
- AGA Hosts Responsible Gaming Education Week Event in Boston as Industry Expands in State, CDC Gaming Reports
Deputy Chief Compliance Officer, Penn National Gaming
Chairman, Massachusetts Gaming Commission (moderator)
Executive Vice President, MGM Resorts International
Dr. Russell Sanna
Executive Director, National Center for Responsible Gaming
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, American Gaming Association
Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling and President of the Board of Directors for the National Council on Problem Gambling
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