What you need to know

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission strives to ensure that its decision-making and regulatory systems reduce to the maximum extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of expanded gaming.
  • 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 the MGC and gaming licensees.
  • A Public Health Trust Fund supports robust problem gambling prevention and mitigation programs and services. This fund is established through an assessment to casino licensees and a percentage of gross gaming revenue.
  • An extensive research agenda informs strategies, practices and policies for responsible gaming and problem gambling prevention and treatment.

An innovative approach

The Commission has designed and implemented several innovative initiatives aimed at promoting responsible gaming and reducing gambling-related harm.

  • GameSense is an innovative responsible gaming program that encourages casino patrons who chose to gamble to adopt and/or maintain positive behaviors and attitudes that reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.  The program offers tips on responsible gaming, engaging tools, and advice and referrals to reduce harm. The GameSense logic model can be found here.
  • GameSense Info Centers are located on-site at all Massachusetts casinos and staffed by trained GameSense Advisors during casino operating hours. 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 players the ability to monitor the amount of money they spend on electronic gaming machines. PlayMyWay will be available at MGM Springfield in 2021 and Encore Boston Harbor in 2022.
  • The Voluntary Self-Exclusion program allows participants to voluntarily prohibit themselves from accessing the gaming floor at all Massachusetts casinos for a predetermined length of time.

The MGC Responsible Gaming Framework

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.

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.

Public Health Trust Fund

The Expanded Gaming Act established a Public Health Trust Fund, which supports social service and public health programs dedicated to addressing problem gambling and related issues, including research, prevention, and treatment. When casinos are fully operational, it’s anticipated that $15 – $20 million annually will be transferred to the Public Health Trust Fund.

The Public Health Trust Fund is administered jointly between the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as a designee of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

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