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Gaming Commission Launches Revamped Responsible Gaming Program

With the state’s second commercial casino set to open later this month, and a third next year, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now launching a revamped responsible gaming program.

An enhanced version of the state’s GameSense responsible gaming program saw its debut last week. It now features a refurbished brand identity, a redesigned website and a comprehensive outreach strategy aimed at encouraging and promoting positive play. The news correlates with the annual Responsible Gaming Week.

Massachusetts’ GameSense program was originally adopted three years ago from a similar program run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation in Western Canada.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission director of research and responsible gaming Mark Vander Linden said the revamped program is educational without being too preachy:

“The new GameSense brand masterfully captures four essential pillars of engagement: it’s educational, the tips and tools help players play smarter; it’s supportive, it is not there to judge, but to inform; it’s approachable, the messaging is welcoming and lighthearted; and it’s relatable, adopting a fun and occasionally humorous style.”

The commission has brought on marketing partner KHJ Brand Activation to help it implement the new GameSense brand identity and bring GameSense Info Centers and GameSense Advisors to the state’s casinos.

Redesigned GameSense website

Highlights of the redesigned GameSenseMA.com website include Pearls of GameSense by Chip. The program features fun and factual advice from a fictional GameSense Advisor. Chip is featured in a variety of video content dispelling popular gambling myths and offering tips about responsible play.

The site also features information regarding responsible gaming techniques and the state’s Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program.

The importance of education

Industry reaction to the revamped program is nothing but positive.

An MGM Resorts International spokesperson said it shows the commission’s commitment to responsible gambling:

“GameSense has been a tremendous success and is already transforming the way the industry approaches responsible gambling. With GameSense, responsible gambling education and outreach is integrated into our guest service model, ensuring players have the tools and resources to keep gambling a safe, enjoyable experience.

We thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for their partnership and dedication to promoting responsible gambling and look forward to continuing our collaboration on this important issue.”

Marlene Warner, executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, said the timing of the revamp couldn’t be better:

“The new campaign cleverly communicates important information about responsible gaming. By design, the website highlights the role of the GameSense Advisor as a knowledgeable, friendly and approachable resource for information and advice at Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield.

As casino gambling expands across the state, it is now more important than ever to educate residents about the programs and support services available. We enthusiastically support this outreach campaign and would like to thank all of the participants for their strong commitment to minimizing any potential harm.”

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The GameSense program

GameSense encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes reducing the risk of developing gambling disorders. This includes setting time and monetary limits and sticking to them.

In 2010, the program won the World Lottery Association’s Best Overall Responsible Gambling Program award. Additionally, it earned the National Council on Problem Gambling’s Social Responsibility Award in 2015.

MGM casinos have licensed and piloted the GameSense program. Additionally, the Connecticut Lottery, and Canadian provinces including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have adopted the program.

Massachusetts law requires gaming facilities to provide a space on-property for a GameSense Info Center, staffed by GameSense advisors.

Massachusetts casinos

The $960 million MGM Springfield resort casino is scheduled to open Aug. 24. It will be New England’s first integrated luxury resort, casino and entertainment destination. However, it won’t be Massachusetts’ first casino.

Plainville’s Plainridge Park Casino became the first when Penn National Gaming opened the slot parlor in 2015. The $2.4 billion Encore Boston Harbor (formerly Wynn Boston Harbor) will become Massachusetts’ third commercial casino. It will open in Everett in 2019.

Massachusetts’ first Indian casino is currently under construction. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will open its $1 billion First Light Resort & Casino in Taunton later this year.

KHJ also helped develop a communications campaign and the redesigned GameSense website. It was also tasked with updating promotional materials, and digital and mobile strategies for the program.

Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years experience in the world of poker and gambling. He contributes to a number of publications dealing with the US regulated online gambling market. He has traveled the globe working as an editor, producer, and writer as well as interviewing major players in the gaming world.