MGC Focusing Efforts on Responsible Gaming

by Kyle Miller

Massachusetts Gaming CommissionThe Massachusetts Gaming Commission has announced a partnership with two casinos to create systems for responsible gaming.

Across the United States, casino operators have a responsibility to their customers. Operators must provide a safe environment for their gaming customers as well as provide options for gambling issues. Programs as well as information should be readily available for individuals who might have a gambling addiction. When it comes to land based services, casinos can offer 1-800 numbers for access to help-lines as well as exclusion programs where players can choose to exclude themselves from the game room floor. Just recently, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to begin working with two gambling providers to focus efforts on creating systems for responsible gaming. Budgeting will be provided with automatic alerts, so gamers can stay on track with their finances.

Teaming Up With Wynn Resorts and MGM Springfield

The Gaming Commission has teamed up with Wynn Resorts and MGM Springfield to work on a system that will promote responsible gambling by allowing customers to set budgets on their gaming and then receive alerts when they are getting close to the limits set. The commission voted to approve the work for the programs, to create a play management system instead of going through a regulation process to create the new programs.

In an interview earlier this week, Stephen Crosby, the Gaming Commission Chairman, stated that the Commission is very committed to promoting responsible gaming and bringing attention to problem gambling. It’s a high priority for the group and they feel the new programs being created are quite innovative.

The casinos wanted to take a non-regulatory approach when it came to creating a program, treating their consumers like citizen instead of gangsters. Members of the Commission as well as Wynn and MGM agree that the approach they are taking will allow for the programs to be evaluated fairly and adjustments made as needed.

MGM will be opening their new Springfield casino in September while Wynn will open their new venue located just outside of Boston by next year. The two plan on integrating the programs in the hopes of helping their customers with careful gaming.

Existing Management Systems in Massachusetts

In the state, Penn National Gaming currently operates the Plainridge Park Casino. This casino integrated a new management system in 2016 titled PlayMyWay. The system was approved by the commission in 2014 and was not launched until around two years later. The reward card holders of the casino have access to the PlayMyWay system.

The management system allows members to set a daily, weekly and monthly budget, whichever they like. After enrolling, a customer will be sent notifications automatically as they reach the 50% mark and 75% mark of their set budget. Once alerted, the customer can then make changes to their spending habits or they can end enrollment.

The goal is to provide consumers with the information and tools they need to be responsible gamblers. For some, this program is a great reminder of their spending habits and a way to know when to slow down or take a break from gaming.

With the MGM and Wynn programs, consumers will be able to opt-in to the program and then choose their budget amount. When they hit their limit, they will be asked if they want to continue playing or if they want to adjust their budget or stop. It will be interesting to see how the operators integrate their program and if it is readily used by their new visitors.