What you need to know
- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is committed to the encouragement of responsible gaming practices through innovations including the GameSense Info Center and PlayMyWay
- A robust Public Health Trust Fund will fund problem gambling prevention and treatment
- Extensive research is being undertaken both before and after the advent of casinos to provide scientific data surrounding problem gambling
An innovative approach
The Commission has designed and implemented several innovative initiatives aimed at promoting responsible gaming and reducing gambling related harm.
- GameSense is designed to help keep gambling fun. The program offers tips on responsible gaming, engaging tools, and advice and referrals to reduce harm. The program’s logic model can be found here.
- GameSense Info Centers at Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor are staffed by trained GameSense Advisors from 9:00am to 1:00am (16 hours a day/7 days a week). Guests can also access 24-hour responsible gaming tips, tricks and information at GameSenseMA.com.
- PlayMyWay is a first-of-its kind budget-setting tool for slot machine play at Plainridge Park Casino. This tool allows rewards card holders to voluntarily choose a daily, weekly and/or monthly budget and then provides notifications as they approach their limit.
The MGC Responsible Gaming Framework
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has approved and released the second version of the Responsible Gaming Framework. The new revisions incorporate approximately a year’s worth of efforts which included literature reviews, key stakeholder input, public comment, international review of jurisdictional approaches, evaluation findings and consideration of experiences of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Version 2.0 of the Framework signifies a natural progression as the original version was intended to retain flexibility in order to respond to emerging trends, technology, and shifting sociocultural factors.
The Responsible Gaming Framework is intended to inform gambling regulation in Massachusetts and provide an overall orientation to responsible gaming practice and policy adopted by MGC and gaming licensees. The Framework is not designed to function as a regulation, but to guide the Commission’s decisions as it promulgates regulation and develops programs and practices to support responsible gaming. The Responsible Gaming Framework is based on the commitment by the MGC and its gaming licensees to the guiding value of ethical and responsible behavior.
The Responsible Gaming Framework provides an approach through which gaming licensees can ensure their practices are consistent with the Commission’s expectations that legalized gambling in the Commonwealth will be conducted in a manner to minimize harm.
The MGC Responsible Gaming Framework supports the implementation of the expanded gaming law (Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011, M.G.L. chapter 23K, or “the Gaming Act”) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The legislation includes a number of key mandates to ensure the successful implementation of expanded gaming, including protection for host and surrounding communities and the prevention and mitigation of social impacts and costs. For further information about Massachusetts’ public health response to expanded gaming, view the Strategic Plan: Services to Mitigate the Harms Associated with Gambling in Massachusetts.
Public Health Trust Fund
The Gaming Act established a Public Health Trust Fund, which will be used to support social service and public health programs dedicated to addressing problem gambling and related issues, including research, prevention and treatment. When fully operational, $15 – $20 million annually, making Massachusetts by far the state devoting the most resources to problem gambling. This includes a comprehensive research agenda that is studying social and economic conditions in and around gaming facilities.
To read about the Research Agenda and find the reporting that has been conducted to date, click here.
The Public Health Trust Fund is administered jointly between the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).
The Public Health Trust Fund Executive Committee adopted a Strategic Plan for Services to Mitigate the Harms Associated with Gambling in Massachusetts. The plan provides detailed strategies to address problem gambling and explores the relationships between problem gambling and other health concerns — laying the groundwork for the development of a strong public health response to those issues most affected by the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts.