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Massachusetts Gaming Commission observes Problem Gambling Awareness Month

1 March 2018

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission announces its support and recognition of March 2018 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). For the 14th year, PGAM is a national public awareness and outreach campaign established to bring awareness to issues associated with problem gambling and to also highlight the national and local resources available to provide individuals and families with support.

In recognition of PGAM, MGC presents the following initiatives:
  • PREVENT: This month, MGC will introduce an updated version of its Responsible Gaming Framework. Originally published in 2014, the RGF is intended to inform gaming regulation in Massachusetts and provide an overall orientation to the responsible gaming practices and policies adopted by MGC and its licensees. After a comprehensive review process which included participation of independent experts and members of the recovery community, the latest RGF now includes updated key principles, expanded strategies and is grounded in the most up-to-date research.
  • EDUCATE: MGC is currently developing a new marketing and advertising campaign for the GameSense program, MGC's innovative and comprehensive responsible gaming strategy to encourage responsible play and mitigate program gambling. Expected to launch this summer, the new outreach campaign will extend to Western Massachusetts in anticipation of the MGM Springfield opening.
  • COMMUNICATE: Throughout the month, MGC will implement a targeted social media campaign to increase awareness about problem gambling prevention and the resources available.
  • COLLABORATE: Working closely with MGC, GameSense Advisors at Plainridge Park Casino will conduct a series of training and awareness-building activities for casino employees.
  • RESEARCH: MGC remains committed to its robust research agenda and using findings to further inform problem gambling intervention, prevention and treatment strategies. View MGC's latest research report about problem gambling. Last month, the MGC released the first significant report of the Massachusetts gaming impact cohort study. Information from this study provides new and much-needed information about problem gambling incidence rates and behavioral trajectory. This study will yield important information leading to tailored treatment and prevention programs.
  • SUPPORT: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance's Gambling Disorder Screening Day. On 13 March 2017, the Cambridge Health Alliance's Division on Addiction and Outpatient Addiction Services are sponsoring a Gambling Disorder Screening Day as part of the Cambridge Health Alliance Readiness for Gambling Expansion (CHARGE) Initiative.
"In an extraordinary effort to mitigate any negative consequences of the casinos, the Casino Law established a Public Health Trust Fund that — when all of the casinos open — will operate with $15-20 million a year to fund a comprehensive research agenda and an extremely robust deployment of public health strategies to promote responsible gaming and combat problem gaming. The Fund is administered by a unique partnership between the Department of Public Health and the MGC," said MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby. "PGAM provides an important opportunity to highlight the innovation and forward-thinking approach demonstrated by the Massachusetts Legislature when developing the gaming statute."

MGC's Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, Mark Vander Linden, said, "We acknowledge the tremendous pain and suffering experienced by individuals with a gambling problem and their loved ones. We will do everything that we possibly can to prevent this by funding research, creating effective programs and increasing awareness."

More information on MGC's problem gambling prevention efforts is available at MassGaming. If you or someone you know needs immediate help with a potential gambling problem, please visit Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling or call the helpline at 1-800-426-1234.

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