GameSense Advisors host webinar to debunk popular gambling myths

While casinos in Massachusetts are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GameSense Advisors continue to advance their mission, educating others about responsible gambling, providing strategies to encourage healthy play and supporting those struggling with problem gambling.

In 2015, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) launched GameSense, an innovative, player-focused responsible gaming program that encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes that reduce the risk of gambling-related harm. Operated by the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling (MCCG), GameSense Info Centers are located at each casino property and staffed by trained advisors. GameSense advisors equip players and employees with information, tips and tools to keep gambling a safe and enjoyable experience.

As part of those efforts, GameSense Advisors, alongside the MCCG and the MGC, hosted a webinar on April 22, 2020 to discuss the origin and nature of myths surrounding gambling, and how GameSense Advisors work to dispel popular misconceptions and create a culture of responsible gaming in the community.

“It’s going to take a lot of work on our part to dispel a myth once it’s been established,” GameSense Advisor and webinar presenter David Tang said. “We don’t know exactly where they’re coming from, what their mindset is, what their attitudes are towards gambling. We don’t have access to any of that information unless they volunteer it to us. Listening attentively is even more crucial.”

Tang spoke to an audience of approximately 50 viewers, providing a deep dive on potential biases that lead to certain myths, along with gambling in pop culture and its influence on players. Then, he provided context on different techniques that can be used to help dispel myths during conversations between GameSense Advisors and the patrons they interact with.

The webinar concluded with a Q&A session, allowing viewers like MGC Commissioner Bruce Stebbins, GameSense Supervisor Ray Fluette and MGC’s Director of Research and Responsible Gaming Mark Vander Linden the opportunity to ask questions in the webinar’s live chat.

While gamblers may not currently be able to talk with GameSense Advisors in person at Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield or Encore Boston Harbor, there are still options available for those looking for information and support while practicing social distancing.

“Casinos are closed for now, but it doesn’t mean that persons experiencing gambling harm won’t continue to struggle,” Vander Linden wrote in a message on March 31. “The risks now may only be higher for this group as they turn to unregulated or illegal forms of gambling to fill time and try to ‘win back’ their lost income.  The MGC’s Office of Research and Responsible Gaming would like to remind people that help remains available.”

The MGC continues to offer and update a list of resources to support mental health, wellness and responsible gaming amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which can be found here.

Since 2015, GameSense Advisors have discussed responsible and problem gambling with more than 77,000 casino patrons and staff, and they look forward to seeing patrons again soon when casinos reopen. Until then, they hope you enjoy the information provided in this webinar.

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