Casino tests unique approach to preventing gambling addiction


Massachusetts is set to launch today a first-in-the-nation system enabling slot gamers to limit their bets, following months of preparation and some pushback from the gambling industry.

The objective is to prevent casual players from decreasing the devastating course of addiction, stated Marlene Warner, executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, which is helping administer the brand-new feature in addition to the state Gaming Commission. It isn't really always suggested to attend to those with serious gambling issues, she stated.

"It's genuinely an avoidance tool," Warner stated. "We want individuals to keep gambling in a way that's healthy and safe for them, so that it does not increase to that problematic level."

The "Play My Way" system is being piloted at Plainridge Park, the slots parlor and harness racing track in Plainville and the only operating casino in Massachusetts so far. It might go survive on the casino's approximately 1,250 machines as quickly as June 1.

If effective, the system may be imposed by the gambling commission at 2 other state-regulated gambling establishments still in advancement: Wynn's Boston-area resort and MGM's Springfield one.

The federally acknowledged Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which is constructing a resort casino on sovereign land in Taunton, states it's likewise examining "Play My Way," but decreased to say last week whether it would dedicate to carrying out anything comparable when its First Light casino opens in part in 2017.

Massachusetts casino operators and the Washington-based American Gaming Association at first voiced bookings about the planned system, saying such bet limiting or "play management" programs have not proven effective in Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and other nations where they've been attempted.

American Gaming Association spokesperson Christopher Moyer said "efficient conversations" with the state gambling commission has actually eased many of the association's concerns.

"Any responsible pc gaming tool need to be targeted to help the small minority of players that may challenge irresponsible play without harming the entertainment experience for nearly all gamers who enjoy our entertainment experience properly," he said. "We're positive this tool will help to attain this objective."

Bet limiting systems are distinct from so-called "self-exclusion" policies in place at Plainridge Park and many U.S. gambling establishments that bar enrolled gamblers from betting at gambling establishments outright or spend their time planning betting hacks overnight.

Warner said the Massachusetts system, which is similar to one likewise in advancement in the Canadian province of British Columbia, also is not as drastic as those enforced somewhere else.

"Play My Way" is voluntary and is just being offered initially to gamers registered with the casino's reward card program.

Gamblers would never be cut off from betting. By enrolling, they merely get routine, onscreen notices as they approach or reach their limit. They likewise can change their betting ceiling or unenrolled at any time.

"It's simply a tool making that person aware of what's taking place and the decisions they're making." Warner said.


Fitzgerald deals with charges for acquiring $135K in gambling financial obligation while on the task


A former Kearney Gaming worker is implicated of gambling while on the clock and acquiring a six-figure financial obligation.

Keegan K. Fitzgerald, 22, of Kearney is charged in Buffalo County Court with felony theft from Kearney Gaming LLC after presumably making $135,000 in bets that he couldn’t cover. He was jailed Friday.

Court records describe the case against him:

At about 9:59 p.m. Friday, Kearney Police Department officers were phoned call to a Kearney bar for a reported theft. A Kearney Gaming authorities notified authorities Fitzgerald was running the keno device at the bar and had actually supposedly been gambling while working.

The examination exposed Fitzgerald had supposedly been gambling throughout the afternoon to attempt to make back the money he lost while gambling. He at first gambled $300 of his own money and lost, the investigation revealed, and started gambling utilizing the computer system while allegedly not paying in any money to the cash drawer for the bets he was placing.

After Kearney Gaming authorities counted the keno drawer, it was identified Fitzgerald owed about $135,000.

He was arrested and taken to the Buffalo County Jail where he later published a $2,500 bond. Fitzgerald is scheduled to appear in court in June.

If he’s founded guilty, and if he isn’t placed on probation, he confronts 20 years in jail, and he could be bought to pay restitution.


Online gambling would be a bad bet for Pennsylvania


LAST WEEK, we suggested developing a bipartisan commission to moderate the ongoing battle between Gov. Wolfe and the Republican-controlled Legislature over state spending and taxes. The commission would be accused of studying the state's spending habits and tax policies and advise practical ways to introduce adequate money to sustain federal government operations and fulfill the mandates for subsidizing city governments and public schools.

Our argument was that, without a third party to call a timeout on the partisan war, the Legislature and the governor will continue to be at loggerheads. At finest, that would mean an ongoing budget plan stalemate. At worst, both sides would try to find gimmicks to "balance" the spending plan in foolish and unrealistic ways.

As if on hint, the Legislature last week provided us a proposition that it stated would be a remedy for our spending plan issues. Think what it is?

More gambling. The state currently has a lottery game, a lots casinos and horse racetracks in every significant area.

Exactly what we need next, according to supporters of these expenses, is online gaming - so you can sit at your computer and play casino video games to your heart's material. So that you can play slot machines, not simply within the confines of gambling establishments, however in airports and off-track betting locations. So that you can bet at video-gaming terminals at bars and truck stops.

Simply puts, the costs - very first debated recently in the state House - would take exactly what was developed to be a carefully managed, restricted foray into gambling and blow the doors large open.

How will this assist the state? According to fans, it will bring in millions. House Republicans said the licensing and fees would introduce $278.5 million in the very first year.

Exactly what about the next year? Well, no one talks about that, because, harrumph, that can be handled later.

Your house Republicans are enthusiastic about these gambling efforts; the Senate Republicans less so. The guv's office stated it was open to considering a growth of gambling, but just as part of a general budget settlement.

There's a public law problem included here: Do we want more gambling in Pennsylvania? You could say we have enough locations already; adding more could increase competition without necessarily enhancing revenue for the state.

There's also the issue of doing the tax equivalent of searching for loose modification in the sofa while disregarding easier and fairer solutions. One example: enhancing the state earnings tax by one-tenth of 1 percent would generate $385 million a year.

No wishes to pay more taxes. However, raising the income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.17 percent would increase the tax problem for a household making $50,000 a year by $50.

Conservative Republicans would rather pass away first than raise the income tax. They 'd rather see their towns develop into Mini-Deadwoods. If this trick does not bring in the preferred earnings, we shudder at exactly what's next - maybe slot machines at bus stops? Much for upholding conventional values.

The pc gaming market is a trillion-dollar business with an international reach. All it needs are some suckers desperate for cash and prepared to settle for a cut of the take, too cowardly to face the issue of taxes head on and too foolish to resist the bait provided by these international corporations.