Responsible Gaming Education Week August 6-10

More Than a Pledge; It’s Our Priority

This week, August 6-10, is Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW). Our 19 members of the Iowa Gaming Association will tailor specific activities to heighten awareness and involve its staff and patrons. This year’s primary RGEW theme is Responsible Gaming: More Than A Pledge, It's Our Priority.

“This is an important week to put added emphasis on the gaming industry’s year-around priority to promote responsible gaming," said Wes Ehrecke, President & CEO, Iowa Gaming Association. “A very high percentage of patrons can visit a casino for the intended fun and entertainment. We need to make sure those who might be experiencing problems are aware of the tools and resources available.”

During RGEW, most casinos will partner with their area problem gambling counseling treatment provider to have an on-site presence to display brochures, interact with patrons and conduct staff training programs. A few are collaborating to do a local proclamation with city officials. The properties are utilizing several creative ways to engage employees to learn intervention skills for how and when to approach, or come to the aid of those exhibiting compulsive behavior and understand key resources available. Those activities will include daily quizzes and prizes, social media, an e-learning option, and implementing a permanent email hotline service.

One Year Later: Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program Updates

One year ago, significant changes were made to the voluntary self-exclusion program as a result of legislation passed. During this RGEW, continued emphasis will help clarify and explain to patrons this reform allows a person the choice to voluntarily ban themselves for either five years or choose a lifetime irrevocable option.

Plus, those persons who had signed a lifetime-only ban exclusion option between 2004 and July 2017, are allowed to request a reinstatement if they have been excluded for at least five years. In addition, the legislative reform clarified that a voluntary exclusion only applies to be banned from the gaming floor area. “There is an ongoing awareness curve for casino staff and patrons alike on these exclusion reform options,” said Ehrecke. “We want everyone to understand that voluntarily excluding themselves from gambling access will not prevent them from enjoying the many other additional amenities that comprise these premier casino entertainment destinations—such as lodging, restaurants, spas, concert and conference meeting space.”

More Resources

Helpful resources that were implemented during recent RGEW’s have been updated and will continue to be utilized and shared. They focus on FAQ’s about the Self-Exclusion Process, as well as Tips for Having a Conversation about Problem Gambling.

“These pieces are informative and pertinent to promote that responsible gaming is an ongoing priority, and they were created with considerable input from the casinos and the gambling treatment counselors,” said Ehrecke. “They were tailored for both casino staff training and for families to emphasize ways to have a meaningful conversation.”

Ehrecke added that a new link has been developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program: This website has a wealth of resources for those seeking assistance with problem gambling, such as a three-question “Am I at Risk?” quiz. Plus calling 1-800-BETS OFF will help someone talk to a qualified counselor to assess the person’s situation.

“Iowa has always been proactive in the treatment of problem gambling,” he added. “We have a successful premier prevention and awareness program in place partnering with the treatment providers and Iowa Gambling Treatment Program.”

For more information about getting help, visit the IGA Iowa Treatment Program page or Responsible Gaming Resources page on our site.

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