The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Receives Preliminary Study of Patrons’ Use of PlayMyWay Program at Plainridge Park Casino

Analysis finds program enrollment is mainly stable and associated with less gambling activity

Today, during a public meeting, the Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction (CHA) presented the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) with a preliminary analysis of patrons’ use of the PlayMyWay (PMW) play management system at Plainridge Park Casino (PPC). CHA was contracted by MGC to provide a comprehensive, independent, and objective analysis of the PMW test program to determine its overall effectiveness. This report is part of a multi-year research and evaluation agenda. The research describes the initial use patterns of PMW and provides a first look at how using PMW relates to gambling activity.

Launched on June 9, 2016, at PPC, the PMW program is an innovative budgeting tool designed to allow customers the ability to monitor the amount of money they spend on electronic gaming machines, and to inform their decision to continue or stop play. A first-of-its-kind initiative in the United States, this pilot program is part of a comprehensive approach to responsible gaming strategies implemented by the Gaming Commission. PMW is intended to help players make decisions about their gambling, allow them to monitor and understand their gambling behavior in real time, and provide information to support their choices. The PMW program is one of the several tools included in MGC’s wide-ranging and unique responsible gaming framework known as GameSense.

The preliminary study conducted by CHA includes a basic epidemiology of Marquee Rewards Card gambling records that provides sample characteristics, game characteristics, cash activity and gambling activity information. The PMW records provided CHA with information about players’ budgets and notification activity. Methodologies include the collection of de-identified player data.

Key findings include:

  • Of the 101,024 Marquee Rewards® cardholders who gambled at Plainridge Park Casino during the study period, 8.8% (8,856) enrolled in PMW. CHA identified three primary groups of enrollees: 85.2% stable (i.e., enrolled in PMW and remained enrolled in the program for the period of this study); 1.3% erratic (i.e., enrolled, un-enrolled, and were enrolled in PMW at the end of the study period); and 13.5% dropouts (i.e., enrolled in the program, but at the end of the study period were un-enrolled from the program).
  • PMW users had significantly more cash activity than non-users on slot machines and electronic table games. For example, during the entire study period, PMW users inserted significantly more cash into slot machines than non-users (difference of means = $620.50, p < 0.01). They also withdrew more funds than non-users (difference of means = $692.31, p < 0.01).
  • With respect to gambling activity, PMW users tended to wager less money as well as lose less money per day compared to non-users. Whereas the median PMW-user wagered $347.80 and lost $47.50 per day, their non-user counterparts wagered $485.30 and lost $62.90.
  • Overall, slightly less than two-thirds of all PMW users (63.0%) never exceeded their budgets; just over one-third of all users (37.0%) exceeded their budgets at least once during the study period.
  • The vast majority of PMW users were from Massachusetts (78.4%) and other New England states. The PMW users had an average age of 54 and were significantly younger than the non-users. PMW and non-users visited PPC an average of 6.5 and 6.8 times, respectively, during the study period.

MGC Chairman Steve Crosby said, “Evaluation is a key component of any responsible gambling program to ensure that objectives are initially met and most importantly remain effective. I would like to commend Plainridge Park Casino for their extraordinary commitment to the successful implementation of this pilot program and their ongoing cooperation on this evaluation.”

“As part of our overall responsible gaming strategy, we want casino patrons to have access to real-time information that supports safe levels of play,” said Mark Vander Linden, MGC’s Director of Research and Responsible Gaming. “The PlayMyWay program does not exist anywhere else in the country, and we are encouraged by the preliminary study on its impact. The Commission can now make data-driven decisions about how to improve its long-term effectiveness and usability. ”

This test program is currently offered to Marquee Rewards ® Card members at PPC. Marquee Rewards ® players have the opportunity to enroll in the program at any slot machine, GameSense Kiosk or at the GameSense Info Center located inside the casino. The computerized program prompts cardholders to voluntarily choose a daily, weekly, and/or monthly budget to track their spending at PPC. Once enrolled, patrons receive automatic notifications as they approach 50% and 75% of their spent budget. Players also receive a notification when they reach 100% of their budget, and if they continue to play, they will receive notifications at 25% intervals. This program is strictly voluntary and a player can un-enroll or adjust the budget(s) at any time. A player also can choose to stop at any point or keep playing.

Read the full report.

About Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction
Cambridge Health Alliance’s Division on Addiction strives to alleviate addiction-related social, medical, and economic burdens through research, education, training, and outreach. It is part of a community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.

About 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.

About MassGaming
The mission of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is to create a fair, transparent, and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in November, 2011. In creating that process, the Commission will strive to ensure that its decision-making and regulatory systems engender the confidence of the public and participants, and that they provide the greatest possible economic development benefits and revenues to the people of the Commonwealth, reduce to the maximum extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of the new legislation, and allow an appropriate return on investment for gaming providers that assures the operation of casino-resorts of the highest quality. For more information on MGC, please visit MassGaming.com or connect and share on Twitter (@MassGamingComm) or Facebook www.facebook.com/MAGamingComm.

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