When a new patron visits your casino or online gaming operation, you can’t know every facet of their personal relationship with gambling. The vast majority of your customers will enjoy their time with you and gamble responsibly. However, the unfortunate reality is that some will have an unhealthy relationship with gaming and over time, may start exhibiting signs of gambling addiction.
While a casino or gaming establishment can never know for sure if a patron is experiencing gambling addiction, it is still every organization’s responsibility to promote responsible gaming amongst your patrons and take the proper steps to intervene when necessary. In doing so, you can improve the safety and wellbeing of your customers while also reducing the chance of illicit financial activity taking place in or around your organization.
As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, a gambling disorder involves “repeated, problem gambling behavior.” Individuals afflicted with a gambling disorder will often continue to gamble despite it creating significant problems for them and those around them. People with a gambling addiction are also typically skilled at hiding the behaviors and problems associated with it.
According to Daniel Umfleet, Founder & CEO of Kindbridge Inc., gambling addiction is hardly ever visible to the untrained eye and while there are certain behaviors associated with gambling addiction, a gaming entity can never truly know for sure, which only adds to the complexity around this issue.
Umfleet also stresses that a vast majority of individuals with a gambling addiction will never break the law. However, there are situations when someone will engage in illicit financial activity to continue to gamble, including money laundering.
Paul Camacho, Vice President of Compliance at Yaamava’ Resort and Casino, believes that the casino and gaming industry is still coming around to recognizing gambling addiction as a potential anti-money laundering (AML) issue.
“We are supposed to deploy risk-based AML program and I think in your risk assessment you have to acknowledge that you have a class of patrons that may commit a crime to be your customer,” Camacho said.
As previously stated, an individual suffering from gambling addiction will go out of their way to keep it hidden from others. This can make it extremely difficult for casinos and gaming entities to identify the signs of gambling addiction and intervene.
However, there are certain indicators that can be utilized by AML and responsible gaming departments. According to Richard Taylor, Senior Manager Responsible Gaming at BetMGM, these indicators could include:
To ensure your employees can recognize the significance of these indicators, it’s important to provide comprehensive training on gambling addiction and responsible gaming.
“It starts with the basics of training. Then you really have to take the next step and foster collaboration with a holistic approach to training,” Camacho said.
Once an individual who is displaying signs of gambling addiction is identified, the next step is intervening at an appropriate level. How to intervene largely comes down to the severity of the behavior and the level of concern the behavior is generating.
“You can’t one-size-fits-all this. It takes nuance and it takes having people on your team who are educated on this subject,” Taylor said.
For more information on identifying the signs of gambling addiction, what casinos and gaming institutions should do to intervene, and the relationship between gambling addiction and money laundering, download our white paper, “Addressing Gambling Addiction and AML Risks in the Gaming Industry.”
Vector Solutions offers online casino training, gaming compliance and safety solutions, as well as a gaming-specific course catalog of nearly 150 online training courses, including courses on AML and responsible gaming.