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Keeping It Real

Industry-wide code of conduct to shape future of responsible gaming policy

During the first week of August, to mark the 20th anniversary of Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), the American Gaming Association hosted two events to highlight the industry’s commitment to this important issue.

From July 31 to August 4, the collective casino gaming industry came together to reiterate foundational and evergreen responsible gaming education, programming and awareness with employees, patrons, policymakers, regulators and the public at large. However, responsible gaming is more than just a weeklong event; it’s our commitment. Every day.

The responsible gaming roundtable at Stockton University near Atlantic City included (l. to r.) Dean Hestermann, corporate director for issue management, Caesars Entertainment; Russell Sanna, executive director, National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG); David Rebuck, director, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement; former New Jersey Governor James Florio; Geoff Freeman, president and CEO, American Gaming Association; and Patrick Harris of MGM Resorts International.

At two roundtable events—one at Stockton University outside Atlantic City and one at the International Gaming Institute of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas—AGA released an updated version of its Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct, coalesced industry stakeholders to highlight shared commitment to responsible gaming and held two industry roundtable events emphasizing the industry’s commitment to responsible gaming while highlighting the significance of the updated Code of Conduct.

AGA’s Code of Conduct seeks to increase industry efforts and build a greater cohesive dialogue among industry stakeholders on responsible gaming. The code is now applicable to all forms of gaming—land-based, mobile and interactive. In the past, it was primarily applicable to land-based gaming only.

The code also includes new consumer protection measures, including enhanced transparency around casino games’ odds and payouts, enhanced transparency in advertising, and ensuring that advertising or marketing will not misrepresent the probability of winning.

The gaming industry’s ongoing responsible gaming initiatives include research into effective treatment and prevention methods, the development and distribution of educational materials and comprehensive employee training. Additionally, materials and toll-free help-line numbers are placed throughout casino properties to give patrons an open channel for more information about responsible gaming.

AGA’s event at Stockton University brought together industry stakeholders including David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement; Dean Hestermann, corporate director for issue management, Caesars Entertainment; Patrick Harris of MGM Resorts International; and Russell Sanna, executive director of the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG).

The group touched on the ongoing efforts by the industry to make sure customers are playing responsibly. We were honored to be joined by former New Jersey Governor Jim Florio, who commended the industry’s work on responsible gaming.

AGA’s event at UNLV brought together industry stakeholders including Congresswoman Dina Titus, Nevada’s 1st District; Alan Feldman, executive vice president, MGM Resorts International; Tim Richards, senior vice president of payments innovation, Everi; Dan Shapiro, vice president of strategy and business development, William Hill; Chris Giunchigliani, Clark County commissioner; Terry Johnson, board member, Nevada Gaming Control Board; and Bo Bernhard, executive director, UNLV International Gaming Institute.

Titus applauded AGA’s updated Code of Conduct, and said it raises the bar and sets the standard for responsible gaming practices. The panel discussed how the industry can be more proactive in pushing responsible gaming practices and how a legal, regulated sports betting market will put consumer protections in place so those betting won’t be taken advantage of by illegal bookies.

The gaming industry invites the public and policymakers to join industry-wide responsible gaming events throughout the year.