Casinos reach out to compulsive gamblers

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The American Gaming Association is sponsoring Responsible Gaming Education week. The idea is to recognize people in a casino who may have a compulsive gambling problem.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population or six to nine million Americans are compulsive gamblers.

Boomtown Casino in Biloxi kicked off a national program with their version of responsible gaming education week.

"On an annual basis our employees are trained to watch out for people who may have a problem and what to do when they encounter those patrons. Then some of our executives get involved and talk to the person" said General Manager Kees Eder.

That intervention is good business for the casino industry.

What do casino workers look for?

"Usually long term gaming, like 24 hours. Asking other people for money. Drinking too much. Looks like their chasing losses are things we look for," Eder said.

All the casinos on the coast are participating in responsible gaming education week. The American Gaming Association has a code of conduct for responsible gaming.

Eder says if Boomtown recognizes a serious problem they will be very pro-active.

"We'll sit down with the person and talk. Worse case we exclude them from the casino," Eder said.

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