MGC, Commonwealth recognizes March 2022 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission are celebrating the start of Problem Gambling Awareness Month [PGAM], which kicked off on Tuesday, March 1 and runs through March 31. The national outreach campaign was created to educate the public about problem gambling and the available resources provided since its inception 20 years ago.
The theme of PGAM is “Awareness + Action,” as the campaign aims to generate awareness about the risks of gambling and urges action toward hope and recovery for those in need. The MGC continues to advance the nation’s most comprehensive gambling research agenda and strives to mobilize it to reduce gambling harm.
“The Commission’s ongoing research agenda has put into focus several factors that likely contribute to gambling-related harm,” said Mark Vander Linden, MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming. “With increased attention during PGAM, we aim to mobilize this research to create resources to promote safer levels of play and prevent gambling-related harm.”
Research findings from the more than 50 reports over nearly 10 years since the research agenda has been in place have provided vital information to inform the work of the MGC and stakeholders throughout Massachusetts. That information has covered numerous aspects of gambling expansion in the Commonwealth, including social, economic and public safety impacts as well as responsible gaming evaluation.
Last year, the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort [MAGIC], the first major cohort study of gambling conducted in the United States, was released. The findings from this study provided a framework to help develop a series of lower-risk gambling guidelines, which will be released this month.
Additionally, the Commission is set to release a white paper focused on gambling advertising that includes a series of evidence-informed recommendations to reduce harm.
“The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is committed to promoting safe levels of play and reducing gambling-related harm by offering programs and initiatives that help understand and address problem gambling,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. “This is an all-hands effort, and we are thrilled to partner with the Governor, Lt. Governor, stakeholders, and casino operators in the Commonwealth to raise awareness.”
In recognition of a statewide commitment to increasing awareness, Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito have officially declared March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month across the Commonwealth, “urging citizens to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance,” according to the proclamation.
“During PGAM, it is our responsibility to raise awareness of programs, and resources for people who make the choice to gamble in the Commonwealth,” said Marlene Warner, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. “It is also an opportunity to remind players to focus on positive play: a demonstrated effort to increase their gambling literacy and a commitment to a predetermined amount of money and time spent gambling.”
To cap off PGAM, in late March, MGM Springfield will join Plainridge Park Casino as the first casinos in the U.S. to offer a slot machine-based budgeting tool, called PlayMyWay, to help patrons manage their play. PlayMyWay allows patrons to voluntarily set a budget at the slot machine and receive reminders as they approach their budget.
The MGC encourages all casino employees and patrons to engage with its statewide brand and on-site responsible gaming program, GameSense. GameSense staff will educate casino employees and patrons on tips to keep play safe, support player health, and access community-based support resources. For more information on MGC’s problem gambling prevention efforts, visit MassGaming.com. For more on the GameSense program, visit GameSenseMA.com.