AGA Adopts Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming

24 December 2003

As part of its ongoing efforts to address the issue of pathological gambling addiction, the American Gaming Association ("AGA") recently adopted an industry-wide approach to promoting responsible gaming. According to AGA Chairman Phil Satre, the creation of the new Code of Conduct is the logical next step in the industry's ongoing responsible gaming efforts.

"The final AGA Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming was developed after many months of preparation and deliberation by a committee of professionals representing several AGA member companies," Satre said. "The AGA code institutionalizes our industry's best practices regarding responsible gaming, detailing a general national program for us to follow."

Provisions of the Code encompass all aspects of member company business, from employee assistance and training to alcohol service, advertising and marketing. The Code also details the commitment of AGA members to continue support for research initiatives and public awareness activities surrounding responsible gaming and underage gambling. Specific provisions include a commitment to train employees with regard to problem gambling and responsible alcohol service, as well as a provision to allow patrons who have a gambling problem to self-exclude themselves from gaming promotions and activities. AGA member companies have until September 15, 2004, to implement the Code's provisions.

A broad rollout program for the Code has already begun. The AGA is in the process of developing an implementation tool kit that will be delivered to all member companies early in 2004. This interactive tool kit will provide members with best practices and materials that will directly assist in implementing each specific provision of the Code. The AGA is also conducting outreach to state gaming associations and key elected officials and regulators to educate them about the Code and its provisions.

The AGA announced the new Code at the 4th Annual National Center for Responsible Gaming Conference on Gambling and Addiction earlier this month in Las Vegas.

As a result of steps taken by the Michigan Legislature in connection with the passage of the Detroit casino referendum, Michigan has become a model jurisdiction in terms of addressing this issue.

Of the $25 million State Services Fee assessed to the three Detroit casinos each year, $2 million is deposited into a Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund, along with other financial contributions from the Michigan Lottery Bureau and Office of Racing Commissioner. In accordance with Michigan law (Public Act 70 of 1997), the Michigan Department of Community Health determines how this Fund may be used.

Michigan also has developed a system for self-exclusion, and there are a variety of resources available for those who have had help. For more information, see my prior column entitled "Responsible Gaming" from August of this year.

Have a very happy and responsible holiday season and a prosperous and responsible New Year.

Related Links
Michigan Online Gambling
National Center for Responsible Gaming 4th Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction