Gambling Venues and Social Responsibility

gamblingA noticeable trend in the gaming industry is the shift from solely gambling-dedicated casinos to a more generalized entertainment complex where gambling is part of the overall entertainment environment.[1] When considering problem gambling, this new trend may not promote the social responsibility needed to make this issue easier to track and remedy.1

Centralized gaming models (CGMs) is a model that provides gaming opportunities within a dedicated gambling environment, within a heavy populated area.1 Dr. Richard Wood and Dr. Mark Griffiths, along with an international panel of experts in the gaming studies field, consulted for the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation regarding CGMs.1 They hypothesized that CGM venues would have strict codes, policies, and guidelines regarding gambling access and control.1

According to Wood and Griffiths, non-dedicated gambling venues have the capacity to encourage visitors to take part in activities other than gambling, while dedicated gaming environments have the ability to minimize the impulsive decisions to gamble.1 As visitors would have to travel to the dedicated gaming environment within the complex, with a predetermined decision to gamble, they would likely have to travel through non-gambling entertainment, leading to their spending less time gambling overall.1

However, there is the chance that a person who visits a non-dedicated gambling venue may enter the premises with the intention of taking part in non-gambling entertainment, but being encouraged to gamble while there.1 Anyone who enters the premises of a gaming environment is aware of the primary purpose of the environment.1 Therefore, impulse gambling by non-gamblers still equals a predetermined decision to enter the environment.1

Also, Wood and Griffiths argue that marketing a gaming venue as a generalized entertainment site still promotes the congregation for social activities in an environment where gambling is also readily available.1 This could increase the likelihood of some to participate in gambling as an additional activity to their other social behaviors.1 The marketing also makes visitors feel less stigmatized when going to gamble in a non-dedicated environment rather than a dedicated one.1

However, currently evidence is lacking regarding whether offering other non-gambling activities encourages responsible gambling or more excessive gambling.1 There are two hypotheses, though. First, some believe that patrons who frequent non-dedicated gambling venues may engage is more non-gambling activities that do not include gambling.1 The second states that leading patrons to enter the establishment to engage in non-gambling activities may actually inspire the desire to gamble due to its availability.1 Regarding the second hypothesis, this would be viewed as an exploitative marketing strategy—a socially irresponsible tactic—and an area in need of further research.1

Wood and Griffiths found that CGMs are the best model to minimize harm, through considering the positive and negative factors of dedicated gambling environments compared with other types of environments.1 In fact, many of the negatives of CGMs can be minimized or eliminated through pre-planning.1

Wood and Griffiths found that CGM environments can be regulated well, with more rigorous procedures for social responsibility regarding gambling and player protection.1 They have the ability to introduce player card technologies that prevents underage access.1 Also CGMs are often frequented by people who have made the decision to visit to gamble, unlike non-gambling environments where gambling may be impulsive.1 Also, CGMs have the ability to introduce other socially responsible practices, such as no ATMs on the gambling floor, which is harder to do when there is other forms of entertainment around.1 They can also stop alcohol consumption at the gaming tables.1 Overall, CGMs have the ability to be more socially responsible than non-dedicated gambling venues.

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