Responsible Gaming Program Celebrates One-Year Milestone at MGM Springfield
GameSense Advisors Educate Casino Guests and Employees about Responsible Gaming and Problem Gambling
Since the opening of MGM Springfield in August 2018, the casino’s onsite GameSense program, overseen by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), has engaged more than 17,000 guests and casino employees in conversations about topics such as rules of the game, house advantage, safer play tips and resources for help.
The shared one-year milestone between MGM and the casino’s GameSense Info Center is an opportunity to acknowledge that the Commonwealth prioritizes responsible gaming education and information as an integral part of the guest experience. GameSense advisors provide guidance to help patrons make informed decisions. GameSense Info Centers include interactive touchscreens and educational tools designed to engage and entertain while also providing useful information.
Massachusetts is the only state in the country whose gaming law requires a responsible gaming information center and advisors on casino property, ensuring players and employees with convenient access to the tools and resources available to keep gambling a safe and enjoyable experience.
GameSense is an innovative, player-focused responsible gaming program that encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes that reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders.
From August 24, 2018 through June 30, 2019, MGM Springfield GameSense advisors engaged in 10,697 conversations related to responsible gaming and problem gambling with 17,508 people. GameSense advisors connect with casino guests and employees in the following ways:
- 246 Demonstration interactions involving 772 guests (a one-way communication centered around responsible gaming demonstration using an educational tool such as a marble game or an interactive kiosk)
- 8,529 Exchange interactions involving 14,073 guests (a two-way conversation about responsible or problem gambling)
- 737 Exchange interactions with 1,081 MGM employees (a two-way discussion to educate an employee about responsible or problem gambling)
- 1,185 interactions about casino-related issues with 1,582 guests
- 174 enrollments in the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program occurred at MGM Springfield (currently 518 individuals are actively enrolled statewide)
In addition to the above, GameSense advisors have had contact with more than 92,000 casino visitors considered “simple interactions,” which might include a simple greeting or other customer service-related engagements.
MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming Mark Vander Linden said, “An early evaluation of the GameSense program offers an encouraging outlook on the overall approval and effectiveness of the program. Research findings indicate that 98 percent of patrons surveyed were satisfied with the information provided by a GameSense advisor and 44 percent went on to say they had changed how they think about gambling or their gambling behavior.” Vander Linden continued, “While the casino will always have the advantage, GameSense is there with resources, information and tips to help patrons play smarter. As GameSense continues to grow with the state’s emerging gaming industry, we will continue to look for ways to improve and innovate.”
The GameSense program also includes a mobile-friendly website GameSenseMA.com. The site features a fictional GameSense advisor and positive play ambassador, “Chip,” who provides valuable tips and advice. The website is populated with entertaining videos dispelling popular gambling myths and offering practical tips about responsible play. The website also offers extensive recommendations for responsible gaming techniques, interactive tools, myth-busting games, and valuable information about how to access support resources and services such as the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program.
As part of a sustained outreach and education effort, the MGC further generates program awareness through advertising, marketing and digital strategies. The advertising campaign includes traditional, transit, and digital advertising. The marketing strategy includes extensive in-casino signage at MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor. The online ads are distributed according to behavior targeting or web-browsing behavior to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness and target audience reach.
Introduced by BCLC in 2009, GameSense is an innovative, player-focused responsible gambling program that encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders. This includes setting and sticking to personally-allocated time and monetary limits for gambling, as well as being open and honest with family, friends and oneself when it comes to personal gambling habits. GameSense has earned international recognition such as the World Lottery Association’s Best Overall Responsible Gambling Program (2010), and the U.S. – based National Council on Problem Gambling’s Social Responsibility Award (2015). In addition to being licensed and piloted at MGM Resort International casino properties, the program has been implemented by Connecticut Lottery, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Canadian provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In Massachusetts, each gaming establishment is required by statute to provide on-site space (the GameSense Info Center) for player education. Massachusetts is the only jurisdiction in the country required by law to offer responsible gaming resources onsite. 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 GameSense program 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.
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.