Posted on: Jan 31, 2021, 1:42 am.
Last update on: January 31, 2021, 01:42 AM.
A casino study conducted for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) concludes that the majority of gamblers do not fully understand the odds they face while gambling.
Players line up in front of Encore Boston Harbor ahead of the June 2019 opening. A new study found that many Massachusetts gamblers do not understand the odds of the games they are playing. (Image: Wynn Resorts)
Gamres, a Canada-based research and consulting firm, interviewed more than 1,500 players in Massachusetts to learn more about their beliefs and behaviors. One of the key findings of the review is that most players have little or no knowledge of the house odds.
Dr. Richard Wood, a psychologist who specializes in gambling behavior and led the study, presented the findings to the MGC last week.
Wood announced that only 37.5 percent of respondents have a high positive play scale (PPS) rating when it comes to gambling proficiency. The report summarizes gaming proficiency as "the extent to which a player has an accurate understanding of his or her chances of winning".
Wood stated that 34.4 percent of respondents have a medium rating for game proficiency and 28.1 percent have a low understanding.
Wood helped develop the PPS rating system in 2017. The mechanism is designed to optimize responsible gambling practices by better understanding players.
Gambling education recommended
In his proposals to the state gambling agency, Wood advised the commission to develop initiatives to better educate gamblers. And that training should focus on younger players.
"We can speculate that players who gamble over time will have more experience with the games and be exposed to more responsible gambling initiatives," Wood told MGC. “And of course, it's generally more of a time to take risks when you're young.
But I think it shows us that a focus on younger players and the use of media that appeals to those players could be a useful way to focus the responsible gaming strategy going forward, ”he added.
Woods announced that players in Massachusetts have similar literacy rates to three other states that Gamres has conducted reviews. However, he said US gambling proficiency was lower compared to players in Canada and Scandinavia.
“When it comes to responsible gaming, I would say Canada and Scandinavia are really leaders when it comes to responsible gaming. You have put a lot of resources into responsible gambling initiatives, ”said Wood.
Most players play responsibly
Wood also told the MGC that over three-quarters of Massachusetts gamblers have a high PPS when it comes to "personal responsibility" regarding their bets. Nearly 77 percent of respondents said they clearly understand the importance of gambling within their financial means.
The American Gaming Association found in a 2019 study that approximately 90 percent of gamers in the US gamble responsibly.
"Responsible gaming is a top priority for our industry," said AGA President Bill Miller. "This study shows that our unwavering commitment to responsibility is resonating with our customers."
Massachusetts was the first state to require its casinos to integrate GameSense services. GameSense, developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, is a "player-centric responsible gaming program that encourages gamers to adopt behaviors and attitudes that may reduce the risk of gambling disruption."
Each of the state's three casinos – Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park – have GameSense kiosks with people trained in gaming disruptions.