MGM GameSense, a new responsible gambling program, will launch in October, MGM Resorts International recently announced. Officials said the company’s 77,000 U.S. employees will start training in October.
MGM Executive Vice President Alan Feldman said, “We should be in the forefront of defining and promoting responsible gaming. I’m not suggesting that we don’t want to help anyone who’s in crisis, because clearly we do. But defining what someone’s problem is can’t possibly be the realm of casino employees. It’s just not right. This is a tough enough thing to define and to diagnose if you’re a trained therapist, counselor, psychologist or even psychiatrist. This is a very, very tough subject to face.”
Developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, MGM GameSense was licensed to MGM for an undisclosed fee. Regulators in Massachusetts, where the company will open a new property in Springfield next year, ordered operators in that state—MGM, Wynn Resorts Limited and Penn National Gaming—to adopt the GameSense program. After reviewing the program, MGM officials decided to introduce it companywide. At first, GameSense will have a physical presence in MGM’s 10 southern Nevada properties, then spread to the company’s casinos in Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi and Massachusetts.
Initially, MGM will set up GameSense signage and kiosks and train personnel to counsel players about addictive gambling behaviors. Later, MGM officials hope to integrate GameSense into the company’s Mlife loyalty card program, so players can set limits and be alerted to the amount of time and money they’re spending on gambling.
In addition, MGM Resorts International announced it will donate $1 million over five years to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute to research compulsive gambling using data collected through GameSense. Brett Abarbanel, director of research at the institute, will coordinate the effort. The institute will share its findings with compulsive gambling researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.
According to addiction experts, about 2.9 percent of the adult gambling population—or 2.5 million players—have a compulsive gambling disorder; 3 million more are considered problem gamblers and 15 million more are at risk. In Nevada, an estimated 2.2-3.6 percent of players have some form of addiction.