NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

EMERGE: A New Standard for Responsible Gaming Education for Employees

The last session of the NCRG conference introduced EMERGE, an interactive responsible gaming training program designed for gaming employees. Kevin Mullally, General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs, Gambling Laboratories Int., moderated the session and Christine Reilly, Executive Director, Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, presented the EMERGE program.

EMERGE, which stands for Executive Management and Employee Responsible Gaming Education, is the only employee training program developed by Harvard Medical School faculty and one of the first web-based programs.

Mullally pointed out that it wasn't so long ago when research on problem gambling was practically non-existent and people in the gaming industry knew very little about how to define or even talk about problem gambling. Reilly and Mullally both stressed that EMERGE is an important tool as casino employees and industry members strive to protect and promote the health and safety of their customers. Reilly explained that the American Gaming Association's (AGA) Code of Conduct requires member casinos to educate employees and make information available on problem gambling.

Reilly explained that through EMERGE, employees learn how and why people become addicted, the nature and prevalence of gambling disorders, what constitutes responsible gaming and how to respond to requests for information on these issues. She stressed that employees are not trained to approach customers and should not do so even if they think a customer has a problem. Even trained clinicians have difficulty identifying someone with a gambling problem.

The program can be customized for the participating company to ensure the training reflects their responsible gaming practices and policies. She explained that because EMERGE is interactive and web-based, employees can move at their own pace. The program is available online 24/7, so companies can train a large number of employees and it automatically tracks employee participation and quiz results, sending them back to company management.

Reilly gave a demonstration of the EMERGE program, which uses audio, video, photos and graphics to accompany the text. At the end of each "chapter", the employee takes a quiz on what he or she has just learned. Since casino employees may be at higher risk for gambling problems, EMERGE is also a way to educate the employee and let them know where to seek help if the program raises questions about their own behavior or that of a family or friend.

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