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Responsible Gaming

As the gaming industry begins the process of reopening, it’s easy to be hyper-focused on the changes.

that need to occur in both the physical gaming spaces and the policies designed to facilitate social distancing, monitoring and response to Covid-19.

All are necessary to protect the health of team members, guests and the community, and provide an environment where returning patrons will feel both safe and entertained.

It is equally critical to the mental health of team members, patrons and the community that adherence to strong responsible gaming standards not be neglected, especially now.

Covid-19 introduced itself to the world in late 2019, and over the course of just a few months showed its capacity to wreak havoc not only on human health,

but also on the ways in which people have had to reevaluate their social interactions, work environments and pursuit of leisure activities.

The worldwide economic fallout has been extreme, with many divergent opinions from economists and pundits on how bad things really are,

and prognostications about how bad it will get before things begin to turn around.

Questions abound about how to time the reopening of various sectors of the economy.

How soon is too soon when considering public health? How late is too late when considering economic health? The gaming industry is a microcosm of how these issues and more are playing out across the private sector.

MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts each proactively announced closure of their Nevada

properties prior to Governor Steve Sisolak’s announcement requiring the entire industry to do so.

Placing public and team member health above profits will undoubtedly put them in good stead with the majority of returning patrons and employees.

Additionally, Wynn has been a leader in developing strategies to reconfigure

the gaming space and policies to decrease the spread of Covid-19 among employees and guests.

These policies have been touted by many in commercial and tribal gaming, and were reflected in

policies approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission, charting the path properties must take to safely reopen.

Although responsible gaming was absent from the first draft of the commission’s requirements for reopening,

a number of public comments urged the commission to,

at a minimum, include language recognizing the importance of reinforcing responsible gaming messaging

hese comments were submitted from stakeholders across a wide spectrum, including current and former gaming executives,

academia, treatment providers, prevention and awareness advocacy organizations and the recovery community.

During a public workshop of the Gaming Control Board,

Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan announced that language on responsible gaming would indeed be included in the final language, which was ultimately released on May 27.

While the added section on responsible gaming contains only two sentences, they are very important sentences indeed.

They require licensees to reaffirm their commitment to responsible gaming measures as part of their formal reopening plans,

which were submitted to the commission for review and approval in advance of reopening.

They read as follows: Responsible Gaming.

Plans must include the licensee’s commitment to and implementation of responsible gaming measures.

Licensees are encouraged to enhance their responsible gaming measures, including,

without limitation, providing enhanced training to employees and creating specialized messaging for patrons

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