BCLC chief wants to take the lead on problem gambling after MGM deal

BCLC chief wants to take the lead on problem gambling after MGM deal

Thursday, February 23, 2017 Posted by Andy McCarron
BCLC's Jim Lightbody and MGM's Alan Feldman sign the deal

The president and CEO of BCLC – the British Columbia Lottery Corporation – believes that his firm can take a lead in the fight against problem gambling after it signed a deal with casino giant MGM Resorts International to provide its social responsible expertise.

BCLC’s Jim Lightbody explained: “We believe it’s our role to take the lead in providing better responsible gambling programming that supports our players, helps reduce harm and strengthens the gaming industry as a whole. We are thrilled MGM Resorts recognises the value of our GameSense program, and wants to align with us to further the positive role it can play in reducing gambling-related harm.”

MGM said it anticipates having GameSense fully integrated into all 17 of its properties across the USA within the year. The agreement, which was announced at the fifth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference in Vancouver, BC, marks the first time a program of this kind is being adopted by any commercial gaming company in North America.

GameSense was introduced by BCLC in 2009 and is an innovative, player-focused responsible gambling program that encourages players to adopt behaviours and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders.

MGM is adopting GameSense to enhance awareness and education about responsible gambling for players and guests and, in doing so, raising the standards within the industry.

As part of the agreement, MGM has committed to funding US$1m over five years, towards a research partnership between BCLC, MGM, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ (UNLV) International Gaming Institute.

UNLV will help facilitate development of a consortium of internationally renowned experts in responsible gambling, and will also 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.

Alan Feldman, executive VP of global government & industry affairs at MGM Resorts International, commented: “MGM is excited to adopt the GameSense platform and to form this dynamic research enterprise. Our vision for GameSense is to transform the guest experience at our properties by providing a program that is rooted in enhanced customer service, player education, and leading research.”

Totally Gaming says: BCLC has been at the forefront of social responsibility operation for some time, perhaps because it is not subject to the competitive pressures of a commercial operator in a deregulated market. This expertise being shared in this way is a huge development to the gambling industry which has been taking problem gambling more and more seriously as technology begins to help identify addictive player behaviours. Hopefully this is the start of more partnerships of this ilk.

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