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  #1  
Old 21st November 2005
stoatonstilts stoatonstilts is offline
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Question Training Employees to Identify and Intervene in Gambling Problems

The UK Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RIGT) has commissioned the Research and Service Development Centre (RSDC) to undertake a review of training for employees of gambling establishments in how to identify and intervene in gambling problems among these establishments' patrons.
A review of current research shows that staff training in relation to problem gambling awareness generally focuses on increasing understanding of problem gambling, identifying behaviours suggestive of patrons’ gambling problems, increasing knowledge of resources for problem gamblers in the community and providing strategies for assisting patrons with problems. Increasingly, training in problem gambling prevention is being built into broader training and certification programmes for gaming management.

However, there appears to be little agreement about what signs employyes should look for and how best their skills and confidence might be raised sufficiently to make appropriate and effective interventions.

I would welcome any views on this issue, especially those drawn from experience of such training - good or bad.
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  #2  
Old 21st November 2005
jhn jhn is offline
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Talking

Hello Stoatonstilts and welcome to the forum.

Training staff as regards gambling addiction must be an extremely (and I mean extremely) recent thing as I have never received any such training training from a casino and do not know of anyone who has.

I actually wrote a thesis on the subject, well more or less. If I can find it I will whack it onto a file and post it as an attachment. That is a very big IF mind you so I am not promising. I found the symptoms and signs of gambling addiction where similar to bipolar syndrome/mania......... I am going to find it because I love that stuff

I do know where "The mental state of a croupier" is , I got a merit for that and it may well be in the same box(es)

I hope you get some responses as it is a very important subject.

Richard J. Rosenthal is considered to be the worlds foremost authority on the diagmosis and treatment of pathological gambling and should be a must read ofr any person researching the subject

...

Last edited by jhn; 21st November 2005 at 08:08 PM.
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  #3  
Old 22nd November 2005
anin1 anin1 is offline
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Stoatonstilts wrote:

“A review of current research shows that staff training in relation to problem gambling awareness generally focuses on increasing understanding of problem gambling, identifying behaviours suggestive of patrons’ gambling problems, increasing knowledge of resources for problem gamblers in the community and providing strategies for assisting patrons with problems. Increasingly, training in problem gambling prevention is being built into broader training and certification programmes for gaming management.”

This is exactly what happens in the casinos in Southern Africa. The front line staff are made aware of the problem, the repercussions for the industry and given guidelines on how to react to an approach from a customer who believes they have a problem. The front line staff will refer the customer to senior staff members who have had further training The senior staff will discuss the options available to the customer which includes self exclusion, professional counseling and a help line. No member of the staff will ever attempt to provide any form of counseling. All customers who ask for help are offered an array of literature that has the “help line” number in it. The front line staff will not approach any customer who they believe has a problem but will pass the customers name on to the senior staff. The customer will be approached and contact made with the view to making any further contact easier. This contact is to ensure that the customer will have a senior member of the casino staff available for future discussion should they so desire, no direct mention of problem gaming is made. On occasion a member of the customers family or others either involved in work or other activities may approach the casino for help. The staff is trained to guide these people to resources where guidance and help is available. The most important point of all the training is that all members of the casino staff react to any approach in a totally neutral and nonjudgmental manner. It is inappropriate to expect or to ask all members of the casino staff to intervene in dealing with those who have a gaming problem. It remains a job for those who are properly trained.

All slot machine have stickers displaying the help line number, problem gaming literature has to be prominently displayed throughout the casino.

Without the customer actively seeking help the problem remains difficult to identify and to react to.
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  #4  
Old 22nd November 2005
jhn jhn is offline
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I forgot one very important thing in my last post on this thread and Anin with his excellent post (as usual) has reminded me of what it is.

No individual unless they are properly trained and qualified to treat pathological behaviour should ever try to do so. Point them in the direction of someone who can help.

I also agree with Anin that staff in a gambling establishment must remain passive until help is requested , putting a person on the defensive , and you will if you make the assertion that they have a problem as they are not in full control of their behaviour can do alot of harm.

Education , Education , Education.

Shout it loud , shout it clear. That is what you can do. Have leaflets , stickers , posters (and preferably warnings on the screens of electronic gaming devices) to inform persons of the risks and the assistance they can acquire should they have a problem.

All Education of staff should be clear , concise and above all accurate........ i.e people with problem or pathological gambling cannot cut back and make it all better , you cannot give people that illussion.

Basically tell them , once you are approached where they can seek help and why they should seek help.

Has anyone undertaken any of these training courses ?

Could you share your experiences ?


..
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  #5  
Old 22nd November 2005
kimberley kimberley is offline
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All Education of staff should be clear , concise and above all accurate........ i.e people with problem or pathological gambling cannot cut back and make it all better , you cannot give people that illussion.

Basically tell them , once you are approached where they can seek help and why they should seek help.

Hi Jhn,
This for me has been a very intersting topic, and i have to agree with the above.
The company that i work for are quoted as saying
"as part of ******* ***** social responsibilty policy are trained to offer help and advice on request, this includes a Self -Exclusion agreement......
Now unless i was in a coma when this training was given.......
I have recieved No such training and will hold my hands up a state that when approached in the first instance to offer the above i felt way out of my depth.
It is because of those feelings that i chose to "educate" myself in these matters, to do, for want of a better phrase "exactly what it says on the tin"
I would welcome such training, and would also be interested on hearing from anyone that has recieved such training, and what was gained from it.
p.s I believe that the new Gambling Commision has asked for opinions on this
in their questions for consultation,
http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk...sp?ContentId=1
Thanks to all that have contributed on this, as i've said a very intersting topic.
Cheers
Kimberley
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  #6  
Old 28th November 2005
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Tessie Tessie is offline
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We have never received any training regarding problem gambling. We do however have leaflets dotted around the place. Unfortunately though they're all written in English and the majority of our problem gamblers don't have English as a first (or even second) language. Not trying all that hard, are we?
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  #7  
Old 28th November 2005
demon demon is offline
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we have not had any training ever. some leaflets but it is hard to find them because theyre stuck in the corner out of the way. it is a bit silly for them to be only in english now you say it
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  #8  
Old 28th November 2005
dangandalan dangandalan is offline
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It does not matter how much training you have, it is still down to the manager if the punter is barred for their own good.

If a punter really did have a problem and admitted it to a manager, I doubt very much that anything would be done about it. After all, barring the punter would mean a lower drop, and which casino could afford that?

I was given training when I worked in a casino and immediately pointed out 6 punters who where present and showing multiple signs of having a gambling problem based on the criteria we had just been given. The manager just laughed off the suggestion of confronting any of them.

Another waste of time, IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I believe those with problems should be helped and pointed in the right direction, but if a manager was to report to head office that their top 6 punters would no longer be coming back because they had been barred for having gambling problems, how long do you think it would be before the manager was standing outside the job centre waiting for it to open?

Not bloody long, matey!!
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  #9  
Old 30th November 2005
jhn jhn is offline
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Dangandalan,

I agree completely , there is not one company in the UK , especially the 3 big ones that would ever stop a person gambling due to them being addicted.......thats their profit remember.

What did the training consist of ?
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  #10  
Old 5th December 2005
stoatonstilts stoatonstilts is offline
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Question Who Owns the Problem?

Thanks for all your comments which I have found both interesting and helpful. A couple of points emerge:

Firstly, how do we define problem gambling? From points made here it seems that most training is concerned with identifying signs of gamblers suffering from some form of diagnosable illness when it is likely than gambling problems cover a whole spectrum - from spending next week's rent money right through to a psychiatric illness. Surely we should be as much concerned with the former as the latter and not wait until the situation has progressed to a state of illness before we intervene. If a patron is showing obvious sighns of distress then it is the duty of the gambling establishment to offer some sort of help - even if that offer is refused.

Which brings me to my second point. Is there a conflict of interest here? If identifying amnd intervening in (potential) gambling problems is going to lead to an establishment losing its best patrons, will managers feel that they are putting their job at risk by cutting their porofits? But if no such action is taken this may result in the whole industry being seen as acting irresponsibly by encouraging (or at least not discouraging) gambling problems. Obviously the lead for this needs to come right from the top, with managers supported in taking the necessary action to ensure training is carried through to action.

Thanks again for your comments. Any response to the above points is most welcome.
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  #11  
Old 5th December 2005
dangandalan dangandalan is offline
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JHN,

my apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but work stuff and all that...
The training consisted of a few sheets of paper with the symptoms and the manager explaining them to me.

They included:

Customers becoming angry when they lose (whatever the amount)

Customers visiting the club on a regular basis rather than seeing the gambling experience as a one-off or weekly event

Customers borrowing money in order to fund their habit


The list went on, but if anyone can name a single night in their career when they didn't see a punter getting angry, I would be most surprised.

We had a few regulars in my last club who would turn up day after day, entering the club with just a few quid. Once they had spent it, they would remain there for the rest of the shift trying to borrow money from whoever had a few chips in front of them. One guy did this for over a year and nothing was said to him.

If anyone qualified for help it was him (apart from the fact that new customers were not coming back because this leach was all over them every night). Did the managers have a word with him? Yeah, right.

I also saw a hell of a lot of problems with the GCA machine while I was there. People with normal, average-paying jobs taking over £30,000 from a variety of credit cards in the space of 3 months or so, usually having a couple of grand a night, until eventually they were taking the last £20 available. They stopped coming once the cow had been milked but you had to wonder how they would explain their activities away to loved ones or bank managers.

I stick by my original stance: While the objective is to make money, casinos will not give a damn how it affects the customers...
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  #12  
Old 5th December 2005
jhn jhn is offline
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Hi stoatonstilts,

On your first point.

how do we define problem gambling?

Firstly you must understand that there are 2 stages of Gambling Addiction. Firstly the problem stage and then this leads to the pathological stage. The correct term to use is Gambling addiction in order to all encompass.

I can diagnose a person as suffering from a gambling addiction due to being qualified in psychology (well I would hope so) not through any training from a casino operator.

During my studies I went in depth into the study of Gambling Addiction not only through research but possibly uniquely by being in the midst of it as I was a croupier at the time of my study.

It is always important to recognise that addiction to gambling is a mental affliction that should be treated by medical professionals be it at the problem or pathological stage.

It is obviously preferable to catch the affliction at the problem stage as it is far easier to then treat and remedy , rather than when it has reached the pathological stage where the person may well be beyond help and intent on self destruction.

The list provided by Dangandalan is useful as , although not definitive , it captures the main crux of how the addiction will manifest in terms of the persons behaviour and indeed what you should be looking for if you wish to step in.

I cannot disagree with this part of the training.


Second point

Is there a conflict of interest here ?

Asking a casino operator to either take measures to stop addiction or to provide guidance to those that may/do suffer from a gambling addiction is akin to asking a Tobacco company to do the same with smokers.

It is in the casino operators best interest , no matter the propaganda they spout that says otherwise , to fuel addiction.

We only need to look at the introduction of credit card machines onto Casino gaming floors to see how irresponsible in terms of addiction these companies are.

The operators have done all they can thus far to fuel addiction and will no doubt continue to do so in the future by lobbying for the more addictive forms of electronic gaming that other Jurisdictions most notable New Zealand are now cracking down on due to their addictiveness.

It is my firm belief that the Gambling Commission as the state regulatory body should be responsible as regards preventing the prevalence of addiction.

The commission should formulate policy and issue edicts to be followed by operators and where operators refuse to do as they are told the commission should strip them of their operating license(s).

That is the only effective way to combat the issue in my opinion.

...

Last edited by jhn; 5th December 2005 at 08:15 PM.
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  #13  
Old 25th December 2005
shae shae is offline
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Post Know your limit, play within it!

Casinos in Ontario, Canada, being provincially regulated, have taken the route of enforcing, educating and self-awareness.
The following.."Know your limit, play within it! The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline 1-888-230-3505." is posted everywhere; on the way in to the casinos, on the way out of the casinos, front of house, back of house, on slot machines, every email footer, throughout all other provincial properties and regions... I mean everywhere.
Recently in the Fallsview Galleria the Responsible Gaming Council opened a huge, you simply can't miss it, 24 hour walk-in counseling office. It's the first on-property facility, it's impressive.
All new casino associates are trained in our new hire orientation that they must, as part of company policy, follow through on any request for aid from a patron. Never to solicit or suggest aid - but when they ask (and they do) everything stops until you have left them in the hands of someone who can immediately address the concern. If they choose to ignore and get caught, it is considered grounds for termination.
Most dealers, supervisors, pit managers carry the number on their person while at work. Ask anyone associate and most can recite, draw or immediately find reference to the number.

Responsible gaming in Ontario; http://corporate.olgc.ca/corp_responsible.jsp
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  #14  
Old 26th December 2005
kimberley kimberley is offline
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Hi Shae,
Thanks for the link,
very interesting reading, does it work in practice?
Can any amount of training really prepare you?
Have you had to put this training into practice yourself, and how did it affect you?
Take Care
Kimberley
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  #15  
Old 28th December 2005
shae shae is offline
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Long winded! Sorry!

Hi Kimberley! It must have impact, I mean there will always be people who take things too far regardless of the vice. Gaming in Canada isn't old enough to have any kind of reliable statistical data. I'm not sure that we'll ever have concrete statistical data to wage the impact of the OLGC's efforts. I like the fact that the campaign focuses on making an informed choice when it comes to gambling, the key word being choice. I think that the efforts in gaming exceed the efforts in liquor control, if you walk in to a casino and in a moment of despair you can ask for help, be taken seriously and get it immediately. If you're an alcoholic walk in to a bar and in a similar moment of despair ask for help the bartender will smile, pat you on the head, call you a cab and serve you a drink the next day. In a moment of despair a patron will be encouraged to self trespass, return while under self trespass you're legally trespassed for 6 months to a year for violating. The duration gets longer every time.
Training will leave you able to recognize a situation when it presents itself, without training you'd be entirely caught off guard with no background to draw on, so yes I believe training can definitely prepare a person for a situation, the emotional response - you have to prepare yourself.
I have been personally involved in this situation several times and it felt good being able to respond. I choose to work in the industry, so when it comes to sociological arguments I take the stance of freedom of choice, recognize that many people make poor choices and many more people can be prone to illness related to vices - drugs, alcohol, gaming. Because some people are alcoholics, shouldn't prevent all people from being able to enjoy a beer. Because some people gamble away all of their resources, shouldn't prevent all people from being allowed to enjoy the opportunity to play. The list of vices goes on and on.
Having said that, I find seniors the most regretful. The atmosphere of a Casino draws seniors seeking good company and conversation. Watching a senior drop their pension cheques in exchange for a sense of friendship that they are often lacking makes me uncomfortable and grinds on the conscience. We smile, talk to them, feed them, entertain them but when the moneys gone they are irrelevant. It's sad.
What I find difficult to comprehend is the number of addicted casino employees. I can't comprehend how you can spend 8 hours a day in the environment, see all of the people around you working for pay, look at all of the comps, see all of the money spent on a facility, collect your pay and not recognize that all of that money comes from LOSSES. That's it, that's the product, that's the inventory. Yet still, someone can spend and 8-hour day collecting peoples money leave work and spend another 8-hours giving away what they earned to gaming.
When asked by a patron 'the secret to winning' I always smile and respond, the only way to win is to work here!
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  #16  
Old 28th December 2005
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dodgy77 dodgy77 is offline
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I think that as quite a lot of people who visit this site are dealers it should never be their responsibility to give a crap about whether a punter is doing all their dough across the tables. Same goes for ALL current staff employed within a casino. Placing information around your establishment which will allow a punter to face up to their problems should they wish to ie placing GA leaflets on the cash desk. should be as much as a casino should have to do.
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  #17  
Old 2nd January 2006
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YoHB YoHB is offline
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jhn's thesis

jhn,
I would be interested in reading your thesis ennumerating the similarities between bipolar mania and pathological gambling. Many people seem to be concerned with misdiagnosis in both populations, but I find it hard to believe that anyone with even a rudimentary background in psychiatry could possibly mistake a floridly manic person for a pathological gambler (or vice versa), either in person or on paper.
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