AGA Tackles Responsible Gaming Education

With the establishment of new brick-and-mortar casino sites, the Grande Vegas online casino, other online casino venues and sports betting options, the gambling industry’s commitment to ensure safe and responsible gambling entertainment is more important than ever.  AGA members include gaming suppliers, commercial and tribal casino operators, sportsbooks, fantasy sports operators and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry.

AGA and its Code of Conduct

AGA maintains a Code of Conduct which it updates as needed. The Code of Conduct involves a set of guidelines by which all AGA members are expected to act. The Code is updated  regularly to account for changes and to ensure that gaming standards remain at a high level. 

The Code aims to protect industry patrons and employees and enforce responsible gaming among operators. The Code also keeps the general public safe by ensuring that the industry operates according to the law.

The AGA advocates for the gaming industry. The Code of Conduct allows the AGA to demonstrate its commitment to integrity and ethical principles as it conducts business. Via the Code of Conduct the AGA helps ensure this commitment is shared by all members of the AGA. 

All Association members are expected to sign the Code of Conduct and agree to follow the Code of Conduct’s guidelines. These guidelines lay out responsible gaming policies, player protections, financial obligations and adherence to the law.

All AGA members commit to follow these rules. The AGA has the authority to issue fines to members who deviate from the Code. Only those casino operators who have agreed to the Code of Contact may display the AGA logo that indicates membership in the association. AGA members include leading international casinos, online casino companies, sports betting entities and gaming brands including MGM Resorts, Paddy Power Betfair, GVC Holdings and Caesars Entertainment.

Updated Code of Conduct

The AGA’s Code of Conduct was updated  this past August to reflect changes in the world of American gaming. For the first time the AGA has included online gaming in its code of conduct. This change marks an important turning point in how the AGA relates to online gaming interests and in how land-based casinos and online casinos relate to each other in the USA. 

The Code of Conduct has always been one of the core missions of the AGA. The new updates include language that reflects the latest technological, legal and societal processes of the industry. The 2018 updates also, for the first time, incorporate the presence of the online and mobile gaming industry. This change recognizes online gaming’s differences from traditional casino gaming as well as the areas in which they involve the same requirements and standards as traditional brick-and-mortar gaming entertainment.

For instance, the Code now takes into account the proliferation of underage gambling online and the industry’s commitment to prevent such activity. There are also mentions in the code regarding gambling sites’ obligations to maintain transparency over payouts and game odds and to advertise honestly.

The code now provides for mechanisms that will deliver clearer instructions for customers who want to learn more about gambling addictions and responsible gaming and how to cope with such behaviors. In general, the drive to ensure responsible gambling continues to be an integral part of the AGA’s overall mission.

AGA president and CEO Geoff Freeman explains that “The AGA is proud to be the leading voice behind the gaming industry’s continued commitment to responsible gaming. AGA members have made responsible gaming a year-round commitment and will continue to train their employees in the most effective practices to ensure all our customers enjoy the casino gaming industry responsibly.”

Online and Mobile Gaming

The AGA’s inclusion of igaming sites and venues marks the beginning of the association’s focus on all the different gaming options that are now available to players. In the past, the AGA had stated that internet gambling was “an issue that the association cannot lead on.” The igaming industry has expressed surprise that the AGA is now prepared to lead in online gaming code of conduct but they are pleased. They are also wary because they aren’t completely sure that the traditional land-based gaming paradigm adequately meets the needs of the igaming world. 

They are also concerned that traditional casinos have conservative beliefs regarding the legality and potential benefits of online gambling. For many years, many brick-and-mortar casinos were concerned that their business and customer base could be eroded by the online gaming world. Today, that view is changing, but slowly. 

The experience of New Jersey’s online gambling market offers the traditional land-based casino w5orld inspiration for the potential that online gaming can bring. The NJ online gaming market has proven that internet gaming actually complements the operations of brick-and-mortar casinos. Land-based casinos don’t lose out – and in fact, they gain – when online gaming becomes available.

An additional indication of the land-based casinos’ – and the AGA’s – willingness to work in tandem involves the partnerships that have been established between brick-and-mortar casinos and their online counterparts. Such partnerships have been largely responsible for helping to turn the Garden State’s gambling market around following years of decline. Now other land-based casinos are encouraged to search out such partnerships in an attempt to emulate the NJ casinos’ successes.

New Trends

Times have changed for gambling sites. The changes are being reflected by the new AGA Code of Conduct. The language has changed, the focuses have changed and it’s clear that the organization may now consider starting to lobby for the online gambling industry.  

Responsible Gaming Education Week 

The AGA’s new Code of Conduct was introduced at its annual Responsible Gaming Education Week. This event provides the AGA an opportunity to showcase the industry's commitment to responsible gaming programs. The Week includes two events in two different areas of the country, at which gaming manufacturers and operators demonstrate the industry’s responsible gaming efforts through  responsible gaming educational activities. 

Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs of AGA  explained the rationale for putting forth the effort to operate the event. “For the 21st year, we are spending this week highlighting our industry’s commitment to responsible gaming. This year, we’re emphasizing that the industry’s commitment to responsible gaming is more than a pledge, it’s a priority for gaming properties across the country. As gaming enters a new landscape, our industry is prepared to be a proactive partner in how we approach responsible gaming, highlighted today with our updated Code of Conduct that spells our obligations to our patrons, employees and communities.”

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