Responsible Gaming and Problem Gambling

What you need to know

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is committed to the encouragement of responsible gaming practices through GameSenseMA.com and the GameSense Info Centers.
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission provides resources and support for those who may have a gambling problem, or may be at risk to develop one
  • The Commission and affiliated researchers are committed to tracking the incidence and trends of problem gambling in Massachusetts, particularly in host and surrounding communities

Responsible Gaming

Responsible gaming is the provision of gambling services in a way that seeks to minimize the harm to customers and the community associated with gambling.

GameSense

GameSense is an innovative and comprehensive Responsible Gaming strategy adopted by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as part of its mission to encourage responsible play and mitigate problem gambling. GameSense combines recommendations on responsible gaming techniques with interactive tools and exhibits meant to engage patrons at Massachusetts casino gaming facilities and online at GameSenseMA.com.

Each gaming establishment is required by statute to provide on-site space (the GameSense Info Center) for player education. There, patrons can learn about myths associated with gambling, the odds of the games they are playing, take a break, and seek support from a GameSense Advisor. The Commission is working with casino operators to ensure that responsible gaming signage and information is available to direct patrons to the GameSense Info Center.

Voluntary Self-Exclusion

As required by statute, a Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program is available to assist patrons who recognize they have experienced a loss of control over their gambling and wish to invoke external controls. The program enables participants to voluntarily exclude themselves from all Massachusetts gaming venues for a pre-determined length of time. For more information on Voluntary Self-Exclusion, please click here.

Play Management

Furthermore, MassGaming is developing a first-of-its-kind pilot budgeting program that will provide patrons with a voluntary limit-setting option.  This budgeting tool is designed to allow customers the ability to monitor the amount they spend on electronic gaming machines, and to support their decision to continue or stop play. A first-of-its-kind initiative, this pilot program is part of a comprehensive and innovative approach to responsible gaming strategies, with a particular focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices.

Problem Gambling

Problem gambling is characterized by gambling behavior which leads to a continuum of adverse consequences for the gambler, others, and the community.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help with a potential gambling problem, call the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling Helpline – 24 hours – at 1.800.426.1234.

Public Health Trust Fund

The Gaming Act allocates significant resources to the areas of research and problem gambling.  When fully operational, a public health trust fund will count with $15 – $20 million annually to study, allocate, prevent and treat problems associated with problem gambling.  This will make Massachusetts the state in the U.S. that dedicates the most resources to this area.

SEIGMA Research Study

In June 2015, a research team from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst released a comprehensive report of findings from a large baseline population survey that assessed Massachusetts residents’ attitudes about gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related problems. Nearly 10,000 Massachusetts residents completed the survey, making it the largest and most representative gambling survey ever conducted in the United States. The survey is just one piece of the broader Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) Study that is unique in obtaining information about gambling involvement and problem gambling prevalence prior to the introduction of casino gambling. Findings from this survey—completed well before any casino or slot machine gambling was available in Massachusetts—will be essential in developing strategies to minimize gambling-related harm.

To read more about the research study, visit SEIGMA.

Additional Resources

 

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