As Plainridge Park Casino opens, state seeks to blunt gambling addiction
Plainville’s new slots parlor will become state’s first casino today
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
BY JIM HAND SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
PLAINVILLE — Tucked in a corner of Plainridge Park Casino, over by the elevators and away from the glitter and noise of the gambling room, is a small table with brochures on it.
The leaflets are about something called “GameSense.”
They contain information about gambling and prevention measures for problem gambling and addiction.
They are part of the state’s efforts to combat gambling addiction while also greatly expanding the availability of gambling in Massachusetts by allowing casinos to open across the state.
Plainridge, with its 1,250 slot machines, will be the first gambling facility in Massachusetts when it opens at 1 p.m. today.
Gaming Commissioner James McHugh said the availability of the leaflets on site is among the measures that give Massachusetts the most extensive efforts to prevent and treat problem gambling in the nation.
He said the law legalizing casinos and regulations adopted by the commission “put in speed bumps” to slow gamblers from going too far.
“I feel that our protections go further than many other states and we’ve had an opportunity to learn from states that have had gaming for many years. I think our best asset has been being proactive around regulation and really having a focus on protecting vulnerable populations as best we can,” said Krystle Kelly, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling.
One protection is called self-exclusion.
A person with a gambling problem can have themselves put on a list that bans them from casinos. Families can also petition to have a member put on the list.
Another protection that will become available soon is a warning on slot machines that tells a player when they have reach a spending limit they set in advance.
The council also has a toll-free hotline for people with a problem. It is 800-426-1234.
Kelly said casinos will be required to pay into a public health trust fund that will finance services for problem gamblers.
The brochures available at Plainridge give players advice, tell them where they can get help and dispel myths about gambling.
They tell players up front they should expect to lose money. Winning is a long shot.
One brochure tells the reader that the odds of hitting the top jackpot on a slot machine is 1 in 373,249. The odds of winning any prize is 1 in 5.
It says the belief that if you keep playing a slot machine your odds of winning increases is false.
Each play of a slot machine is an independent event.
“The result of your previous play or series of plays has no bearing on what happens on your next play. There is no way to predict a win. Slots are never ‘due for a win’ and they don’t ‘go cold’ after a win,” the brochure states.