Last year was the first Responsible Gaming Education Week, which then morphed into Responsible Gaming Education Month (RGEM). All credit to the American Gaming Association (AGA) for this designation.
But all of us in the gaming industry, including at the AGA, know that even a month isn’t enough time to dedicate to responsible gaming. It’s a year-round, 24/7 type of commitment that is necessary to ensure that we reach a goal of no one becoming a victim of our products and services. The gaming industry does not want to profit from someone’s compulsion, and if we can identify those individuals ahead of time, we can guide them to resources that will help them.
At GGB, last September we decided to dedicate each of our Daily Updates to an article on responsible gaming penned by some of the experts in the field. Admittedly it was a last-minute decision, but we managed to pull it off.
This year, we began preparing in late July and have gotten (or will get) contributions from some of the top professionals who are working hard to combat this issue around the globe. Starting on Friday, September 1, with a column written by AGA Vice President of Strategic Communications & Responsibility Cait DeBaun, each weekday in September will feature an article by these experts on their particular views of responsible gaming.
Having reviewed some of them, it’s not all going to be kind to the industry. There are things we can do better—many things. So we hope that everyone involved in gaming reads these articles and takes them to heart.
I’ve been covering the industry’s responsible gaming efforts since the late 1980s when they first started to appear. At that time there was virtually no peer-reviewed research on the issue. When the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) was formed by former AGA CEO Frank Fahrenkopf, that began.
But the early research was very complicated for a young reporter like myself. I felt lost in the physiological and psychological research that was presented at that time. And then when it was discovered that compulsive gambling was most often paired with other addictions, that comorbidity dilemma seemed to make it almost impossible to treat the problem. But in the last five years, we’ve begun to see some groundbreaking research into treatment programs that actually aid the problem gambler and help to prevent them from going down that long, dark road.
So for the next month, GGB will be doing our part in combating problem gambling. We hope you’ll come along for the ride and, in the end, be ready to do your part as well.