During the sixth annual Responsible Gaming Ambassador trainings at The Venetian and The Palazzo, 90 Team Members were trained to recognize when a guest may show signs of problem behavior and get help to compulsive gamblers. The trainings were led by world-renowned University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) professor Dr. Bo Bernhard and featured speakers from the Problem Gambling Center (PGC) in Las Vegas, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, and a clinic manager at PGC who shared her own problem gambling story.
“Globally, this is one of the major challenges facing the gaming industry,” Bernhard said. “And in new places, where there are new jurisdictions looking at casinos, for them, this is the number one question: What are you doing about problem gambling? And Las Vegas Sands has the world’s best and most comprehensive answer to that.”
Before the trainings were created, Bernhard worked with Harvard Medical School to ground their research on problem gambling in science. Though the research and science of responsible gaming and problem gambling is still very new, it is constantly growing and the course material changes every year to stay up to date with the latest findings in the field.
“What is unique about these trainings is that we bring in the world’s best subject matter experts to speak to our Team Members rather than a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach,” Maria-Christina Annaloro, director of Government Relations and Social Sciences at Las Vegas Sands, said. “Our Team Members are receiving a world-class education in an intense and interactive eight-hour, university-led course. The specialized training enhances Team Members’ skills to incorporate the ability to respond to responsible gaming related situations. By the end of the course, it is safe to say that we have the most educated Team Members on this subject matter. We take great pride in that.”
Susan Schaffer, a casino shift manager at The Venetian and The Palazzo, said she was proud to become a certified ambassador, noting that most people wouldn’t think casinos certify their Team Members in this area.
“We are in the guest service business, we should be able to assist guests with any and all questions or concerns. If we don’t know the answer, we should know where to get the answer for them,” she said. “When dealing with gamblers, getting the correct answers or connecting the guest to the correct resource could be a matter of life or death.”
For those who would like to learn more about problem gambling and furthering their knowledge as a Responsible Gaming Ambassador, Bernhard said there are additional classes at UNLV and volunteer opportunities available at PGC and the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.