I’ve heard plenty of gamblers looking for a slots system throughout the years, but always intending to find some way to gain an advantage over the house. While such a strategy doesn’t actually exist for slots, there is a new slots system to help prevent gambling addiction that’s heading to Plainridge Park in Massachusetts.
The new technology, known as ‘Play My Way‘, has been in development for some time now, and officials announced that it is finally ready for implementation at the Plainville racetrack’s slots parlor this week. This marks the first time any US casino has integrated technology of its kind.
Marlene Warner, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, is particularly enthusiastic about the new “play management” system. Her organization has worked diligently to help administer Play My Way technology, and feels it will greatly decrease the odds of players developing an addiction to gambling.
However, Warner noted that the program is meant as a preventative, not necessarily a treatment or cure for those who already suffer from a serious problem.
“It’s truly a prevention tool,” explained Warner. “We want people to keep gambling in a way that’s healthy and safe for them, so that it doesn’t rise to that problematic level.”
Plainridge to Pioneer Slots System
Plainridge Park has been selected as the pilot tool for the new slots system, mostly due to the fact that it’s the only operating, state-licensed casino in Massachusetts at this time. If the program is successful, the Mass Gaming Commission surely mandate Play My Way for installment at the state’s two upcoming casinos, MGM Springfield and Wynn Everett, both currently under construction.
Over in Taunton, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is in the process of building a new resort destination, First Light Casino, on sovereign lands. However, under the guidelines of US law, the federally recognized tribe would not be required to integrate Play My Way. Tribal officials said they are taking a close look at the “play management” technology, but have not committed to implementing the system or something similar when the phase-1 casino opens in 2017.
Play Management Not Historically Effective
Slots systems like Play My Way have been previously tested in many other regions of the world, including Canada, Norway, Sweden, and even Australia, where statistics show gambling addiction rates are the highest. The American Gaming Association agreed with Massachusetts casino operators that the play management tools haven’t proven to be very effective.
On a positive note, though, AGA spokesman Christopher Moyer said they’ve had “productive conversations” with regulators in Massachusetts. The majority of their concerns have been sufficiently addressed in the program’s development phase, and it’s far more advanced than the antiquated systems in place elsewhere.
“Any responsible gaming tool should be targeted to assist the small minority of players that may confront irresponsible play without harming the entertainment experience for nearly all players who enjoy our entertainment experience responsibly,” explained Moyer. “We’re optimistic this tool will help to achieve this goal.”
How It Works
The Play My Way slots system is unlike the standard self-exclusion tools invoked by most regulators throughout the world. The management system works by giving players the voluntary right to sign up for the program, linked to their Players Club Card, and set hourly, daily, weekly and even monthly betting limits.
The player is then notified by a slot machine when they near their limit, and again when they reach a limit. Players are never cut off from gambling at that point; rather given a mental nudge that it may be time to take a break. They can always ignore the message and continue playing if they wish, and they can un-enroll in the program or change their betting threshold at any time.
Warner summed up the new play management slots system adequately when he stated, “It’s just a tool to make that person aware of what’s happening and the decisions they’re making.”
Officials said Play My Way could be installed at Plainridge Park’s slots parlor as early as tomorrow, June 1.