A global expert on responsible gambling policy has warned that Japan risks inducing dangerous player behaviors, including a potential “gambling frenzy,” if it implements responsible gambling measures based on fear rather than fact.
Speaking at the third and final day of the MGS Summit at this year’s MGS Entertainment Show in Macau, Jennifer Shatley – Responsible Gaming Policy and Compliance Executive for Logan Avenue Consulting and former Vice President Responsible Gaming Policies and Compliance at Caesars Entertainment – said any measures implemented into Japan’s RG law must be based on proven research rather than simply trying to appease public concerns.
And she warned that not only could ill-conceived RG policy prove ineffective but that it could in fact increase the risk of problem gambling by placing unnecessary time and money pressures on players.
In particular she pointed to entry levies, time restrictions and limits on the number of visits allowed by locals each month as potentially dangerous initiatives.
“There has been no research anywhere that has found any factual evidence that measures such as entry levies or time limits work,” she said.
“In fact, it can actually work the other way around because when people pay an entry fee, they are already behind when they walk through the door. That can lead to them effectively chasing their losses from the outset.
“Similarly, restrictions on the number of visits a person can make to the casino each week or each month can create a scenario whereby that person feels they must make the most out of their time in the casino because it is the only chance they’ll have to do so. It can force them to play faster or display behaviors they wouldn’t usually display.”
Most concerning of all, Shatley said, were the results of a recent study in Canada into the impact of “time limits” aimed at limiting the amount of time a player was allowed to spend on a casino floor in a designated period.
“What the study found was that as the clock wound down, players began to display highly unusual behavior and would go into a sort of ‘gambling frenzy’,” she explained.
“The time limit effectively achieved the exact opposite of what it was intended to do.
“That’s why it is so important for Japan to base any responsible gambling measures they put in place on evidence-based research such as self exclusion programs.
“Having a solid, well-implemented self exclusion program has been proven to be a very important part of any responsible gambling strategy.”