Coming soon to MGM casinos: advisors to help compulsive gamblers – LA Times

MGM Resorts has a message for problem gamblers: We’re here for you.

Later this year, the company will roll out a new program called GameSense, which puts trained advisors in casinos to share the message that gambling can become a dangerous addiction.

Nevada gambling revenue totaled $4.1 billion in 2016. About $3.3 billion of that came from the Las Vegas Strip, according to a report by the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.

Problem gambling is a disease that affects more than 7 million Americans according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

At kiosks at Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and other MGM casinos, trained advisors will educate visitors about problem gambling as well as myths and facts associated with playing.

For example, slot machines and table games are called “games of chance” for a reason: The results are random.

Gamblers need to understand there’s no such thing as a “hot” slot machine or one worth playing because “it hasn’t paid out all night but it’s bound to.”

“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,” Alan Feldman, an MGM Resorts executive vice president, said in a news release.

Until now, the only help compulsive gamblers could find in the casinos was a brochure called “When the Fun Stops,” usually placed next to ATMs.

It includes a toll-free phone number ([800] 522-4700) for gamblers struggling with what may be addictive behavior.

For GameSense, MGM is partnering with British Columbia Lottery Corp., or BCLC, which operates 35 casinos plus bingo halls and the provincial lottery in British Columbia, Canada.

Corporate executives decided to set up the staffed booths at its casinos nationwide after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission insisted on GameSense implementation at the MGM Springfield, which is under construction.

Also, MGM will donate $1 million to research projects at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute. Researchers will use data gathered by the casinos to determine the effectiveness of GameSense in identifying problem gamblers and providing help for them.