“When Good DeedsEqual Good Business”An AGEM Presentation on Responsible Gaming
Association of GamingEquipment Manufacturers (AGEM) • AGEM is an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, systems, table games, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry. AGEM works to further the interests of gaming equipment suppliers throughout the world. Through political action, trade show partnerships, educational alliances, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship, the members of AGEM work together to create benefits for every company within the organization. Together, AGEM has assisted regulatory commissions and participated in the legislative process to solve problems and create a business environment where AGEM members can prosper while providing a strong level of support to education and responsible gaming initiatives. For more information, visit www.AGEM.org.
What is Problem Gambling (PG)?Who is affected? • PG is when a person bets more than they can afford to lose on a regular basis. • PG affects approximately 2-3% of adults in most gaming jurisdictions
Perspectives on Social Responsibilityand Gaming • Consumer • Problem gambling treatment and research communities • Government • Gaming industry • Anti-gaming groups
Responsible Gaming – The GamingIndustry’s Response to Problem Gambling • Why is responsible gaming important to AGEM and its members? • It is the right thing to do! • Social / corporate responsibility • Build bridge between industry and PG research and treatment groups • Strengthen relationships with public policy makers • Market sustainability • Enhance public perception
The Commitment From AGEM AGEM recognizes that problem gambling is a societal issue that cannot be ignored. As the leading trade organization representing manufacturers of gaming equipment for entertainment purposes, AGEM feels that it is incumbent upon all stakeholders in the gaming industry to take a pro-active approach to problem and underage gambling. Therefore, it is AGEM’s mission to promote responsible gaming to all industry employees, customers and the public at large, as well as to support those agencies and programs committed to researching, preventing and treating problem gaming.
AGEM RG Program Elements • Financial commitment • AGEM and its members have given hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past decade to a variety of local, state and national RG organizations • Employee / membership awareness • Customer support • Partnership with the problem gambling treatment/research communities • Public policy development • Partnership with IGT Director of Responsible Gaming
Policy Considerations for Governments • Responsible gaming elements as part of the framework of any government gaming program • Participation by all stakeholders • Funding for research and treatment • Support creating and operation of problem gambling advocacy groups • Regulatory mechanisms to address underage gambling • Child safety policies
Essential Elements of Responsible Gaming Framework • Mandatory signage in all gaming locations listing a 1-800 Help-line number for problem gamblers • Information brochures in gaming locations • Employee education and awareness training for all gaming venues • Employee assistance programs • Self-exclusion option where appropriate • Responsible Gaming message as part of all gaming promotions • Credit and check cashing policies to minimize problem gambling
Some Harm Minimization Strategies • Responsible gaming and helpline information • Age restrictions in gaming environments • Check cashing and credit policies • Self-exclusion programs • ATM restrictions • Limits on bets and prizes • Lighting and ergonomic considerations
Some Harm Minimization Strategies: • Limit hours / speed of play • Responsible gaming information area in casinos • Intervention on the gaming floor • Advertising restrictions • Removal / restrictions of note acceptors • RG screens on gaming machines
AGEM Policy on RG Machine Modifications: • As the trade-group representative for technology providers in the gaming industry, AGEM does not endorse or discourage the use of RG machine modifications. AGEM-member companies incorporate these features only at the request of their customers.
Words Of Wisdom “Gambling addiction doesn’t come in machines any more than alcoholism comes in bottles. It comes in people.” Reese Middleton, Executive Director, Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling
“Noble Intentions,Unintended Consequences?” References: “On the Shoulders of Merton” – American Behavioral Scientist, July 2004 Authors: Dr. Bo Bernhard, Frederick W. Preston, UNLV “Promoting a Culture of Responsibility” June 2004 Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), NSW
Is There A Better Solution? One Consideration:THE RENO MODEL “A Science-Based Framework for Responsible Gambling” Alex Blaszczynski, PhD, University of Sydney & Westmead Hospital, Sydney Robert Ladouceur, PhD, University of Laval, Quebec Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Boston
A Measured Approach: • Conduct baseline PG prevalence study prior to implementation of new gaming program • Implement basic harm-minimization strategies that have been proven effective • Fund research on unproven or proposed PG strategies • Conduct replication PG prevalence study in 3 years • If prevalence rate has increased, implement new social protections now supported by research
Challenges: • Reaching consensus among stakeholders on best approach to providing social protections • Balancing freedom of choice for gaming patrons vs need to protect the vulnerable (“Duty of care”) • Promoting positive public perception of gaming industry • Identifying appropriate research to address problem gambling • Funding for PG research and treatment • Creation of a comprehensive and flexible plan to address PG