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Vicky Nolan

Has Your Company Implemented a Problem Gambling Program?

15 December 2000

Although gaming operators--both land-based and Internet-based--may be sensitive to charges that their industry causes terrible problems for people, there are some who say that nearly every industry out there has some type of problem associated with it. Surprisingly enough though, even some responsible gaming advocates say that gambling isn't pure evil.

"No one is blaming or picking on the gaming industry," explained Elizabeth (Betty) George, CEO for the North American Training Institute (NATI). Instead, she acknowledged that the industry generates some very obvious benefits (such as job creation and paying taxes) as well as encouraging some problems, like problem or underage gambling. She added, "For a small number of individuals who gamble, gambling has nothing to do with entertainment and recreation. In a manner similar to alcoholism, approximately 1.3 percent of the adult population may develop an addiction." Plus, according to research from Harvard University Division on Addictions, youths are two-and-one-half to three times as likely as adults to develop gambling problems.

With this in mind, NATI has developed a number of responsible gaming programs that gaming and wagering corporations can implement as part of their staff training and development. Both "Red Flags and Referrals: Responsible Gaming Training"TM and "Underage Gambling: A Bad Bet for the Gaming Industry"TM are one-hour long CD-ROM PowerPoint, multimedia training kits that can be customized to reflect each corporation's philosophy, mission statement and business needs. "One size doesn't fit all," George explained.

The Red Flags training kit enables any gaming and wagering corporation to immediately launch a responsible gaming training program using their own facilitator, while the Underage Gambling training kit enables these companies to immediately launch a responsible gaming underage training program, again using their own facilitator. Each kit costs $3,999.

The training kits open with an introductory message from that corporation's CEO or general manager explaining the company's desire to implement these new problem gambling tools. Additionally, the training material is adapted so that it reflects each company's specific desires and wishes. After all, George said, "no gaming and wagering company wants five thousand little junior Sigmund Freuds running around." Instead, the training program encourages employees to look at behaviors, keeping away from specifics that could be misinterpreted.

The material is already available in English, German, French, and Italian, while other languages can be easily added. The two kits have been extensively field-tested by the industry, and have also been independently accredited by the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders of Cambridge, Mass. Plus, the training kits won last year's "Best Ideas" award given out during Responsible Gaming Awareness Week.

According to George, companies that implement a problem gaming program will see a greater return on their bottom line as the public's perception of the company grows. After all, she said, the gaming and wagering industry--whether it's a state-lottery, Internet gaming site or whatever--is part of a larger community. She also stressed that implementing these programs allows the operators to be good corporate citizens.

Has Your Company Implemented a Problem Gambling Program? is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan