Sands Confidential

Maria Christina Annaloro Leads Responsible Gaming Ambassador Program at Las Vegas Sands

Las Vegas Sands has a best-in-class, global responsible gaming program that aims to reduce gambling risk and improve social safeguards to help our guests make informed choices.  The program is designed to directly reach and help patrons before a problem develops, including Team Member training, 24/7 Ambassador assistance, self-limit options, prominent signage for resources, and partnerships with organizations that support this cause. The Responsible Gaming Ambassador program was developed with leading experts to provide support at the right time for our patrons.  Through Project Protect, the company’s goal is to ensure that we not only meet, but also exceed government regulations and lead the industry in critical social issues including responsible gaming, money laundering and human tracking.

“In 2012, I was part of launch for the Responsible Gaming Ambassador program in Las Vegas, Singapore and Macao,” said Maria Christina Annaloro, director of responsible gaming and government relations.  “This program intends to advance the level of understanding responsible gaming and disordered gambling through scientific research.  We have developed an industry-leading, educational training that enhances our ability to provide a safe environment for our visitors around the world to enjoy.”

Responsible Gaming Ambassador training is provided in partnership with Dr. Bo Bernhard, the director of the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). Other intellectual contributors to the program are Harvard Medical School, University of Macao, Singaporean Council on Problem Gambling, Problem Gambling Center, Nevada Council on Problem Gambling as well as other local organizations in the regions that support those who suffer from disordered gambling. Annaloro says the company refines all operational practices and tailors the program to fit local cultural and regulatory environments, while also continuing to advance and lead the industry as new gaming trends, research and science continues to emerge.

"My role in the department is to help drive gaming expansion, legislation and related-lobbying, political and social science initiatives,” she said.  “This includes creating advocacy, shaping policy and addressing regulatory challenges around the world. We work closely in fostering relationships with key stakeholders and elected officials to establish a foundation of trust. A big part of my role is the oversight of our Project Protect initiative, which encompasses responsible gaming, but also counter-trafficking and the prevention of financial crimes. These are research-based, science-driven programs that need to be successful in a highly-regulated, global environment where trends continue to align to being a socially responsible corporation, in both business and in the community.”

A Team Member at Las Vegas Sands for nine years, Annaloro started her career at the American Gaming Association, a trade association that lobbies on behalf of the gaming industry, as well as articulates the value of the industry on federal and state levels.  Wanting to return to the west coast, Frank Fahrenkopf, then CEO of the American Gaming Association and former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, said there was no bigger gaming company than Las Vegas Sands, where he explained that the company has one of the most remarkable stories in the international gaming market that can be largely, and uniquely, attributable to impressive government relations strategy.

“Gambling dates back to 2300 B.C. and gaming will be around for the next zillion years,” Annaloro said. “This is an industry that is incredibly complex and constantly evolving. I credit much of my success to my intention of thoughtfully advancing the industry to the next level while remaining honest, credible and kind along the way.”