2014-08-08 15:12:41.917

August is Missouri's Responsible Gaming Education Month


This August marks the 11th anniversary of Missouri’s historic recognition of a statewide Responsible Gaming Education Month. In 2003, in conjunction with the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, the Show-Me State was the first state in the nation to dedicate a month to Responsible Gaming Education.

Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Scheve Reardon explained that the program was developed to help the citizens of Missouri identify those who may have a gambling problem.

“As a gaming provider in Missouri, we have an obligation to our players to operate in a socially responsible manner,” Reardon explained.

The Missouri Gaming Association, the statewide trade association of Missouri casinos, also puts a special focus on responsible gaming education during August, with all 13 Missouri casinos participating in Responsible Gaming Education Week the first week of August.
“Responsible gaming is an ongoing priority of Missouri casino employees, from top executives to front-line team members,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. "Responsible Gaming Education Month is an opportunity for our casinos to expand on the work they do every day, educating employees and patrons about the issue."

A primary focus of the month-long initiative is on the free help available to all Missourians. To spread the word about the toll-free problem gambling help line, 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633), the Missouri Broadcasters Association teamed up with the Alliance to run a series of problem gambling public service announcements (PSAs) on television and radio.

“Featuring PSAs in the media will help get the important message out to not only problem gamblers, but also their family and loved ones, that free assistance is available,” Reardon stated. “The help line directs callers to free treatment in their county.”
This August also marks the first anniversary of the Missouri Lottery and Alliance’s Self-Exclusion Program (SEP). The SEP serves as a responsible gaming resource for players who classify themselves as problem or pathological gamblers to reduce the incentive to play Lottery games.

“Our hope is that those with a gambling problem will sign themselves up for the voluntary program, which self-excludes that player for life from claiming prizes of $600 or more and denies that player access to the My Lottery® Players Club,” Reardon explained.
The Missouri Lottery was the fourth United States lottery to launch a self-exclusion program. The Missouri Lottery’s program was modeled after the Illinois, Iowa and Maryland lotteries, all of which offer players the option of self-excluding themselves from claiming a prize of a certain amount.
The Missouri Gaming Commission also maintains a voluntary self-exclusion program as a recovery tool to help compulsive gamblers acknowledge, take responsibility for and manage their gambling issue. The Disassociated Persons List, developed in 1996 as the first statewide self-exclusion program in the nation, lets problem gamblers self-exclude from all Missouri casinos.

To coincide with Missouri’s Responsible Gaming Education Month, the Missouri Lottery is also revisiting a series of responsible gaming best practices for their nearly 5,000 Lottery retailers, titled “Do The Right Thing.” The program will focus on providing easily accessible responsible gaming information for customers, as well as ensuring the enforcement of age verification upon purchase, among other initiatives.

According to the 2013 Missouri Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey results, out of the 36.4 percent of individuals who reported gambling in Missouri, only 0.7 percent said gambling led to financial problems, and 0.5 percent noted gambling led to problems with family, work or personal life.

“Even though the survey indicates that the number of problems gamblers in Missouri is low, we want to do our part to deter those struggling with an addiction playing our games,” Reardon concluded.

To learn more information about Missouri’s responsible gaming initiatives and the Alliance, visit 888betsoff.com. For more details on the Missouri Gaming Commission and Missouri Lottery’s self-exclusion programs, visit mgc.dps.mo.gov and MOLottery.com.

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