Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Understanding GameSense in an Expanding Gaming Market

Session Title

Session 2-2-B: Responsible Gambling Intervention in Expanding Markets

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

29-5-2019 12:25 PM

Disciplines

Public Health Education and Promotion

Abstract

Abstract: Gambling expansion provides an opportunity for stakeholders to learn more about the operation of mandated responsible gambling programs. New gambling venues in Massachusetts are required to provide complimentary space for GameSense Info Centers operated by an independent 3rd party. We studied computerized service records produced by GameSense staff (i.e., GameSense Advisors) and visitor surveys across two 6-month waves of data collection, starting 6 months after the first casino venue opened in Massachusetts. Our results provide an estimate of the program’s reach inside the casino, visitor satisfaction, and associations between GameSense exposure and responsible gambling knowledge and behavior. We found that about 70% of GameSense Advisors’ interactions were casual in nature, rather than focused on responsible gambling or problem gambling. Consistent with a primary prevention approach, during conversations that did concern responsible gambling or problem gambling, GameSense Advisors reported teaching patrons about a budgeting tool available at the casino, strategies for gambling within one’s limits, and consequences associated with gambling problems. Casino patrons who visited the GameSense Info Center consistently reported high satisfaction with the staff and services. For the most part, additional exposure to GameSense did not translate into better responsible gambling knowledge or use of responsible gambling strategies.

Implications: This study provides the first evaluation of a GameSense Info Center to operate in the United States. This study adds to the small but growing evidence base about the reach and effectiveness of a responsible gambling program now being implemented in casino venues across the United States.

Keywords

responsible gambling, gambling, program evaluation

Author Bio

Dr. Heather Gray is Associate Director of Academic Affairs at the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She earned her PhD in social psychology from Harvard University in 2006 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Boston University Health and Disability Research Institute. Since joining the Division in 2008, Dr. Gray has studied the development of, and recovery from, a variety of addictive disorders.

Funding Sources

This work was supported through a contract with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission provided feedback on questionnaires and coordinated review of the final report.

Competing Interests

The Division on Addiction and affiliated faculty have received funding in the past three years from DraftKings, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via NIH and Indian Health Services (IHS), NIH, the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which receives funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, National Center for Responsible Gaming, the New Mexico Responsible Gaming Association, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and GVC Services, Ltd.

Comments

We request that this paper be included on a panel with other MA responsible gambling papers including those by Dr. Matthew Tom and Dr. John Kleschinsky.

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May 29th, 11:00 AM May 29th, 12:25 PM

Understanding GameSense in an Expanding Gaming Market

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract: Gambling expansion provides an opportunity for stakeholders to learn more about the operation of mandated responsible gambling programs. New gambling venues in Massachusetts are required to provide complimentary space for GameSense Info Centers operated by an independent 3rd party. We studied computerized service records produced by GameSense staff (i.e., GameSense Advisors) and visitor surveys across two 6-month waves of data collection, starting 6 months after the first casino venue opened in Massachusetts. Our results provide an estimate of the program’s reach inside the casino, visitor satisfaction, and associations between GameSense exposure and responsible gambling knowledge and behavior. We found that about 70% of GameSense Advisors’ interactions were casual in nature, rather than focused on responsible gambling or problem gambling. Consistent with a primary prevention approach, during conversations that did concern responsible gambling or problem gambling, GameSense Advisors reported teaching patrons about a budgeting tool available at the casino, strategies for gambling within one’s limits, and consequences associated with gambling problems. Casino patrons who visited the GameSense Info Center consistently reported high satisfaction with the staff and services. For the most part, additional exposure to GameSense did not translate into better responsible gambling knowledge or use of responsible gambling strategies.

Implications: This study provides the first evaluation of a GameSense Info Center to operate in the United States. This study adds to the small but growing evidence base about the reach and effectiveness of a responsible gambling program now being implemented in casino venues across the United States.