Casino testing technology to help curb addiction

Mar 21, 2016 10:15 AM

Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park slot parlor in Massachusetts will be the test site for technology designed to help casino customers manage their spending and avoid slipping into addiction.

Players using a club card at any of the 1,200 or so electronic games in the casino will be offered an on-screen prompt to set a budget for the day, week or month. The system called “Play My Way” was developed with nearly $200,000 in funding from the state’s annual assessment on casino operators.

The tests at Plainridge will begin in May.

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says the system has never been installed at any casino in the world where it was deemed to be successful. The Massachusetts version of the system has been under development since Plainridge opened last summer.

If successful, future casinos built in the state, like ones in development by Wynn and MGM, would be obligated to adopt the feature.

The American Gaming Association, a casino industry trade group based in Washington, has voiced concerns about the technology, suggesting it hasn’t proved effective at casinos in Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and other countries where they’ve been tried over the years.

Gamblers who decide to enroll in the program will be notified when they reach 50 and 75 percent of their limit. They can also change their limit or un-enroll at any time.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].