The Division of Addiction within the Cambridge Health Alliance was commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to research one of the two responsible gaming pilot programs that the casinos of the state are to implement. Five researchers took eight months to review the program and presented their findings to the Commission during a public meeting on November 21st.
PlayMayWay Pilot Program
PlayMayWay was the pilot program under review by the research team, an option that is considered a precommitment program. Players can use the program to choose a daily, weekly or monthly gaming budget. They will then receive a notification automatically when they reach 50%, 75% or 100% of their set budget. When the budget limit is reached, the machine will then ask the player to affirm their decision to keep playing. If they choose to continue, they will be sent a notification of their budget limit at 125%, 150%, etc.
Steve Crosby, the Chairman of the Commission, commented on the report by stating that evaluation is a key component of any responsible gambling program to ensure that the objectives are met and remain effective. Crosby went on to compliment Plainridge Park Casino of remaining committed to the implementation of the pilot program and their cooperation during the evaluation.
The researchers started their review of the program in June of last year and continued until January 31st, 2017. More than 100,000 Marquee Rewards members of Plainridge Park Casino were reviewed. The PlayMyWay program was utilized by 8,856 members of the rewards program. Within the report, the researchers broke down those enrolled into the program into three groups.
One category was considered stable, one erratic and one dropouts. The stable group were enrolled and stayed enrolled. The erratic group were enrolled, then unenrolled and then reenrolled before the study ended. The dropout group was those who were enrolled but unenrolled before the study ended.
The report showed that the median age of those enrolled within the program was around 53 years of age. The average age for a Marquee Reward member is around 58. The data showed that the enrollees of PlayMyWay visit the casino often but wager less money than those who are not enrolled program members. The report also showed the members of the group were setting budgets and around 37% were exceeding the budget set during game play.
Further Study Needed
The researchers told the Commission that there is a need to study the program further. They would like to examine the difference between the behavior of the gambler before and after enrollment as well as look at the difference between behavior before and after a player receives a notification of reaching a certain percentage of their budget.