Now that cannabis is fully legal in Nevada, advocates of responsible gaming are warning casinos to keep a watchful eye out for gamblers who might be too stoned to make responsible decisions. Regulations already exist requiring casinos to cut off gamblers who are noticeably drunk, and operators have been fined for allowing visibly wasted patrons to continue gambling.
“We have existing regulations that talk about impairment from alcohol and gambling, but the statutes and regulations are silent on … what happens when the persons might be impaired from marijuana intoxication and continue to gamble,” Nevada Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson said. “Those are some continuing issues that we’re going to have to address and work on.”
To drive the point home, the American Gaming Association recently hosted an event to discuss their new responsible gaming model code of conduct. “[Responsible gaming] is an everyday, year-round responsibility that we have to (extend to) every player that walks through our doors and onto our casino floors,” Elizabeth Cronan, senior director of gaming policy at the AGA, said. “We are investing more of our time and our resources in this issue. I’m spending more time in Las Vegas, working more closely and directly with our members across the country and in gaming markets industry-wide.”
“We believe very firmly in the notion that responsible gaming is not just an important issue, it’s a very real construct,” said Alan Feldman, executive vice president at MGM Resorts and chairman of the National Center for Responsible Gaming. “There are very straightforward, practical things that we can and need to be doing to engage our customers so they in turn can incorporate those behaviors into their daily lives as customers at our properties.”
Feldman also stressed the importance of discovering ways to address the issue of problem gaming before an intoxicated individual sets foot in a casino. “We need to expand the focus to before the fun stops,” he said. “Let’s have the conversation earlier. We don’t need to identify problem gamblers. What we should be doing is having regular ongoing dialogue with our customers and make certain that what they are doing is safe and fun for them and their families.”