As casino executives and gaming regulators prepared to mark the official launch of the PlayMyWay program at MGM Springfield on Thursday afternoon, about 200 gamblers had already enrolled to use the voluntary gambling budget tool.
The program that's been available to players at Plainridge Park Casino since 2016 allows gamblers to set a slot machine budget for themselves and then track their spending against that budget. Once enrolled, players get automatic notifications when approaching 50%, 75 % and 100% of the budget they set for daily, weekly or monthly wagering.
Daniel Miller, MGM Springfield's compliance manager who was sporting a green PlayMyWay t-shirt, told the Gaming Commission on Thursday that the program began to roll out Monday morning and that about 200 people had signed up as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. He said 170 of those gamblers had already redeemed the $10 food credit that came as a perk of signing up.
A study of more than 1,500 Massachusetts gamblers released last year found that 77% of those survey scored high on a personal responsibility metric -- meaning they clearly understand the need to gamble only within their means -- and that most players know when it's time to stop gambling and can control their betting.
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Dr. Richard Wood, a psychologist who specializes in the study of gaming behavior for the firm Gamres, told the Gaming Commission that "gambling literacy and pre-commitment certainly are areas that would benefit from a little bit more focus going forward."
Miller said the responsible gaming program is "definitely gathering momentum" at MGM.
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Gaming Commission Director of Research and Responsible Gaming Mark Vander Linden, MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Springfield Health & Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris officially launched the program during a Thursday afternoon press event at the casino.
PlayMyWay is "COMING TO ENCORE BOSTON HARBOR SOON," according to the Gaming Commission's GameSense website.