MGM’s new problem gambling program sees big response

Gaming industry researchers will complete their first comprehensive report this summer on a problem gambling awareness program launched by MGM Resorts International last year.

But it’s already clear that customer outreach has surpassed expectations.

By the end of March — Gambling Awareness Month, as designated by the National Council on Problem Gambling — the GameSense program adopted by MGM had sparked more than 160,000 conversations between employees and customers.

The theme of this year’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month was, appropriately, “Have The Conversation.”

Las Vegas-based MGM, the largest casino operator in the state, announced in February 2017 that the GameSense program mandated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the soon-to-open MGM Springfield property would be rolled out to every MGM operation in the United States.

The full rollout occurred in late 2017 with implementation slowed briefly by the company’s attention to the Oct. 1 shooting tragedy, in which a gunman killed 58 and injured more than 700 others on an MGM-owned property on the Strip.The company also announced in February 2017 that it would provide UNLV’s International Gaming Institute $1 million over five years to study the effectiveness of GameSense.

“We have quite a few pieces to this with several different data collection points,” said Brett Abarbanel, the institute’s director of research, who is heading the study of GameSense’s effectiveness.

“We started with a survey that went out just before GameSense launched to get a baseline understanding of what people think of responsible gambling and to see if there was any knowledge of GameSense already out there. It’s been in British Columbia and Canada for a number of years.”

GameSense was established by the British Columbia Lottery Corp. to develop effective measures for players to control compulsive gambling habits that researchers say afflict around 5 percent of the gambling population.

Massachusetts adopted the BCLC’s program and required its operators to implement it for casinos there.

Tropicana and M Resort operator Penn National Gaming, which expanded the Plainridge Park horse racing track in Massachusetts to include slot machines in 2015, and Wynn Resorts, which is scheduled to open its Boston Harbor resort next year, were also required to initiate GameSense. But MGM opted to implement the program nationwide.

That meant a more extensive research opportunity for Abarbanel and her team.

“We wanted a general sense of what people know and think of responsible gambling in general because GameSense is a branded program, and if you don’t know that much about gambling, or the gambling business, or responsible gambling, you may not recognize the name GameSense. It may not be something you’ve ever come across before. A huge distribution of surveys went out to MGM customers. We also sent this out to MGM employees, two different surveys,” she said.

Nationwide tour

Abarbanel’s recent travel itinerary included stops at MGM properties in Detroit, Atlantic City, Maryland and Mississippi. The last piece of information gathering is occurring at the company’s Las Vegas resorts.

The company set up GameSense displays in casinos, but MGM’s biggest effort to drive awareness has come through enabling contact with the thousands of members of the company’s M life loyalty card program.

“I think that a lot of the credit for this goes to BCLC and their willingness to allow us to try something different,” said Alan Feldman, executive vice president of global industry affairs and one of the company’s strongest advocates for establishing an effective problem gambling program.

Because MGM’s M life and GameSense advisers log every conversation with customers within four categories established by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the company can quantify the number of contacts it has.

Companies never tracked conversations before. Now that they do, the emphasis can shift from reactive to preventive remedies.

“While we know that they (conversations with customers) happened, we also know that they were rare,” Feldman said.

“The old way of doing this was to be reactive to a customer, and only in circumstances where a customer was clearly displaying some form of aberrant behavior would we reach out. The difference here, of course, is that we’re having this conversation now with anyone and everyone and not waiting for someone to have a problem, but discussing this with them upfront.”

Unprecedented outreach

Feldman said the 160,000-plus conversations is unprecedented.

“GameSense builds stronger, more sustainable relationships with our guests by teaching them how to keep gambling fun,” Feldman said. “As gambling grows as a mainstream entertainment option around the world, GameSense ensures responsible gambling gets an equally mainstream discussion.”

Abarbanel said her research team, which collects data through a computerized scaled questionnaire on a website, should be able to assemble its first report by June, comparing the awareness numbers against the baseline developed before MGM rolled out the program.

UNLV’s research will be shared with the Cambridge Health Alliance at Harvard Medical School, which is working on data analysis. Reports also will be shared with other GameSense licensees across the United States and Canada.

“UNLV can distribute it without restriction from MGM, and we want them to,” Feldman said.

While MGM is firm in its view that having a strong problem gambling program is the right thing to do, it’s clear that having GameSense in place should help the company’s efforts to plant its flag in Japan, where residents view the issue of problem gambling as a reason for not allowing integrated casino resorts into the country.

“It’s gotten quite a bit of attention in Japan, and I know we will be sharing it with people in the problem gambling community there because they all are so very interested in how they integrate responsible gaming discussions as part of their integrated resort policy,” Feldman said.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Mecum Car Auction in Las Vegas
The Mecum Auctions is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Construction underway for new Google Data Center
Henderson is slated to be home to a new Google data center in December 2020. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax abatements for Design LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company plans to build the data center on 64 acres of land on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, an in-home digital companion and monitor.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, HAPPIE Home technology, an in-home digital companion and monitor designed for unpaid family caregivers that gives personalized alerts, messages and reminders. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday parades help bring shoppers to Downtown Summerlin
Sports Town USA floor manager Angela Gardonio talks about the work that goes into the Downtown Summerlin holiday parades and how they benefit her and other businesses there.
Final vote on CG Technology
Final commission vote on the $2 million settlement for CG Technology.
Happie Home Startup Establishing Headquarters In Las Vegas
Digital companion startup company Happie Home is establishing its headquarters in Las Vegas after receiving tax abatements from the Governor's Office of Economic Development on Nov. 15. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like