Massachusetts hails responsible gambling program results

TAGs: Massachusetts, Plainridge Park Casino, playmyway

massachusetts-playmyway-precommitment-responsible-gamblingMassachusetts’ new responsible gambling program appears to be at least partly achieving its goals, according to initial results.

This week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) received the initial report on its PlayMyWay (PMW) responsible gambling program at the state’s only currently operational gaming venue, Penn National Gaming’s slots-only Plainridge Park Casino (PPC).

The PMW play management system alerts users via text message when they reach 50% and 75% of their pre-planned gambling budget – be that daily, weekly or monthly – with other messages issued when they hit 100% and for every 25% over that budget.

On Tuesday, the Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction revealed that 8,856 PPC patrons – about 8.8% of Marquee Rewards cardholders – had signed up to be PMW guinea pigs. The average age of PMW users was 54 years, “significantly younger than the non-users.”

On the whole, PMW users were pretty good at sticking to their gambling budget, with around 37% of users exceeding their pre-planned spending at least once during the study period.

The study noted that PMW users who received warning notices were more likely to un-enroll from the program. Nearly 15% of all users un-enrolled at least once, with 5% of them doing so after only five minutes, with a full one-third of un-enrollees doing so after one day. Receiving warning notices was also associated with users setting higher budget limits.

However, while PMW users deposited more cash into slot machines and electronic table games, they also tended to wager less and lose less money per day than non-users. The median PMW user wagered around $348 and lost $47.50 per day, while non-users wagered $485 and lost $63 per day.

The relatively brief period of study made researchers hesitant to credit PMW for reducing gambler’s gambling losses, but MGC responsible gaming director Mark Vander Linden said the regulator was “encouraged” by the results, which would allow the MGC to “make data-driven decisions about how to improve its long-term effectiveness and usability.”

In related news, MGM Resorts is ramping up hiring for its new $960m MGM Springfield casino, which is scheduled to open its doors in September 2018. In the meantime, MGM has opened a career center in Springfield to help it fill the estimated 3k positions the new property will require.

Under MGM’s deal with the state, 35% of the Springfield property’s employees must be city residents, while 90% of all staff must call the region home. MGC chairman Stephen Crosby noted that Penn National’s PPC venue “hired almost half their workforce from the ranks of the unemployed and the underemployed and we hope MGM will target that audience.”


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