Gamblers Can Learn When to Stop With Slots Technology

For some people, getting carried away in a casino is easy. So, imagine that you can sit at a slot machine and have the ability to track and limit your betting with an onscreen display.

At present, it is not possible in any casino in the United States, but that is all set to change as gambling regulators in Massachusetts who are trying to abnegate gambling addiction say that they are all set to launch a system that is the first in the country which allows slot players to limit their bets.

Using their casino reward card when they play slots, players will be given an onscreen prompt to set a daily, weekly or monthly budget. The new feature in Massachusetts has been named “Play My Way” and has been promoted for nearly $200,000 in funding from annual assessment by the state on casino operators.

Regulators announced that starting the end of May, the new feature will be tested in Massachusetts' first casino, Plainridge Park, a slot parlor and harness racing track located in Plainville.

Stephen Crosby, Chairman at Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said that the United States has not seen anything like this before and it has not been done in any international jurisdiction where it has been successful. An update on the system’s development was received by the commission, which has been promised since the opening of Plainridge Park last summer. He also said that everything was done from top to bottom, meaning everything from marketing materials to software design.

If it is successful, casinos built in the future in the state, like the ones being developed by MGM and Wynn, would have an obligation to adopt the feature.

A casino industry trade group, the American Gaming Association, suggests that the technology has failed to make an impact at various casinos across countries such as Canada, Norway, Australia, Sweden and other countries where trial tests have been run in the last few years.

The association states that as a result of the decline in gambling revenue as well as usage, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has abandoned the technology after using it for less than a decade due to gamblers moving to play online in the comfort of their homes.

According to Mark Vander Linden, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, the structural setup in Nova Scotia was found to be more ironclad compared to what was propositioned in Massachusetts. He notes that while “Play My Way” is optional, the program in Nova Scotia was compulsory and enforced on all slot machine players, and the limits are not alterable.

Electronic messages are sent out when gamblers enroll reach 50 to 75 percent of their limit. Also, being cut off from betting will never be a cause for concern. When gamblers reach the deadline, a prompt appears on the screen simply asking them whether they wish to quit or continue gambling. They also have the option to adjust their limit or discontinue enrolment at any period.

Vander Linden says that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be strictly auditing Plainridge Park’s attempt to administer effectiveness. The Commission is also keeping a close watch on a similar pilot project at a casino in Ontario called OLG Slots located at Georgia Downs.

Purported “play management” schemes, including “Play My Way” differ from “self-exclusion” regulations in Plainridge Park and many casinos scattered across the US as enrolled gamblers are barred from placing bets on any casino games.

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