Sands developed Project Protect to lead positive change and provide lasting solutions for the communities where we operate. Our goal is to ensure that we lead the industry in addressing critical social issues, including the prevention of financial crimes and human trafficking, and encouraging responsible gaming.
“The goal is to prevent harmful activity from taking place at our resorts,” says Maria-Christina Annaloro, director of government relations & responsible gaming at Sands. The company provides informational and helpful resources for guests, including responsible gaming brochures and the ability to self-limit play. “We educate our Team Members on how to encourage responsible gaming and how to spot the signs of problematic gambling. Many of these Team Members are Responsible Gaming Ambassadors, specially trained by the world’s top experts in the field. Responsible Gaming Ambassadors are knowledgeable about interacting with guests who might need help.”
Every Sands Team Member is instructed to listen for alarming statements made by guests that could be indicative of a gambling problem, and alert a supervisor or Responsible Gaming Ambassadors, who are trained extensively on available resources and organizations that provide treatment for those in need, and on having private, discreet conversations with guests who may benefit from responsible gaming programs. “Though the percentage of the population that suffers from a gambling problem is quite low, the issue isn’t insignificant. Our Responsible Gaming Ambassadors are available for anyone who may experience a problem related to gambling,” Annaloro explains.
Some of the signs a guest may have a gambling problem include not being able to stop gambling, gambling with money they can’t afford to lose and making comments to friends, Team Members and others about how much they are gambling, among others. “But our role isn’t to make judgments or assumptions about a guest’s behavior or habits, but rather to listen and watch for potential signs, and make sure resources are available.”
As with many things, the public health challenges of COVID-19 are intersecting the company’s approach to responsible gaming. “We are sensitive to the financial, physical, social, emotional and occupational crises caused by the pandemic,” Annaloro says. “As we are all devastated by the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, trauma like this may lead some people to retreat to addictive behavior. This vulnerability in the market makes our responsible gaming efforts more important than ever.”
Sands’ Responsible Gaming Ambassador program is specifically designed to provide help during difficult times. As the company welcomes guests again, responsible gaming is of foremost and paramount concern.
“Certainly, the landscape has changed, but the safety and well-being of our Team Members, guests and communities remain our top priorities.”
For more information on responsible gaming, or if you or someone you know is experiencing a problem related to gambling, visit the National Council on Problem Gambling.