WHAT ATTRACTED MGM RESORTS TO GAMESENSE?
AF: A couple of years ago we did an internal evaluation of our RG program, and while we reinforced that we offer our guests a strong program, we also felt there was something missing. We recognized that we wanted to improve the program and transition responsible gambling away from compliance policy, and into more of a customer service enhancement.
At this same time, we were granted a license to develop a resort in Springfield Massachusetts. As a licensee we were informed that the Massachusetts Gaming Council had licensed GameSense and that MGM Springfield would be required to adopt the program. When we looked at GameSense for Springfield, we saw a proactive program that is rooted in enhancing the overall customer experience. GameSense promotes positive play, and gives players the tools to make informed decisions when gambling. The more we learned, the more it became clear that GameSense embodied all of the elements that we are looking for in developing a new responsible gambling program. Discussion began in 2015 with BCLC and here we are!
WHAT WILL THIS PARTNERSHIP DO FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION?
JL: This partnership is going to produce great results, not only for BCLC, but for the entire responsible gambling community.
GameSense has been a successful program and we are always trying to improve it. We are excited to see what we can learn from MGM Resorts when GameSense is implemented into an integrated resort model.
In addition to generating a small annual revenue for BCLC, a partnership with MGM will also allow us to continually improve the GameSense experience and tailor programming to players, staff, gambling workers and the public. This will come from our ability to leverage MGM’s vast network of diverse resorts across the U.S. to enhance metrics and evaluation of GameSense products and programming. There is also a large research component to our partnership that will provide us new, data-driven, scientifically based information to measure GameSense.
AF: I think this partnership will be incredibly beneficial to MGM, but will also provide benefit to the broader gambling industry. I fundamentally believe that as an industry we need to change the way that we view responsible gambling. We need to shift focus away from discussing responsible gambling as compliance policy, and transition it to a discussion about enhancing customer service. If this partnership is able to facilitate that change, then I will view it as a success.
For MGM the benefit will be for our guests and employees. We are going to provide both with a program that has a strong brand recognition that educates and encourages RG best practices. This includes an enterprise-wide adoption of modern educational and marketing materials, player-engagement strategies, and RG training for gambling workers & corporate staff. Research shows that guests expect companies to offer robust RG programs. I believe that the GameSense partnership will allow MGM to exceed those customer expectations.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE RESEARCH COMPONENT OF THE PARTNERSHIP?
JL: We are delighted that as part of the partnership MGM has provided a $1 million research partnership between BCLC, MGM, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ (UNLV) International Gaming Institute. UNLV will assemble a team of internationally renowned experts in responsible gambling, and work closely with the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Gambling Research.
This will include a multi-faceted research project to enhance GameSense and all responsible gambling products based on new, data-driven, scientifically-based expertise in responsible gambling.
Building responsible gambling research and awareness is a key focus for both our organizations so we can continually enhance support for gamblers across North America and around the world.
AF: Including a significant research component in our partnership with BCLC was critical to MGM. As founding members of the National Centre on Responsible Gaming we know how valuable scientific research can be in helping our industry understand gambling disorders. Combining MGM’s gambling footprint with the leading academics and public sector programs provides a new dynamic approach to responsible gambling research. This new approach will include consistent monitoring, evaluation, and feedback loops, that share the common goal of continually improving the GameSense experience and in so doing, increasing the opportunity for customers to make responsible choices. The results from this historic research partnership will foster future enhancements that will improve how the industry deals with problem gambling long into the future.