The American Gaming Association (AGA) is a group which represents its members who come from the commercial casino industry. Formed in 1995, the goal of the group is to create awareness and factual understanding of the casino world. The main purpose of the group is to educate the public and its stakeholders about casinos. In the process, it also benefits its members by giving support to them in terms of legislations that affect them and the industry, rules and regulations that they need to be familiar about, and several other assistance while operating their respective enterprises.
The AGA also acted as a trusted source of information for media personnel and other industry partners. (About the AGA, 2003, n. p. ) As part of its advocacy, the AGA also highlights responsible gaming as an important element in enjoying casinos. It partners with schools and encourages its members and employees to create awareness on responsible gaming, and identifies the results of irresponsibility within casinos. The AGA started the orange wristband campaign under the “Keep It Fun” slogan, encouraging gamers to keep casino playing fun and never destructive.
The wristband campaign continues to be part of the Responsible Gaming Education Week and Lecture Series, both hosted by the AGA. (Responsible Gaming, 2003, n. p. ) Propositions on Poker Machine Addiction The American Gaming Association submits this document to the Federal Government in response to the inquiry on propositions regarding the community effects of poker machines. Poker machines have been traditional entertainment tools. Since the creation of the first poker machine in the late 1800s, it has become widely identified with bars and liquor shops. (Poker machines history, n. d. , n. p. The availability of poker machines in public places has raised concerns that it might affect family structure.
Coleman (1999, n. p. ) reports that in Australia efforts have been made to study the link between family issues and gambling. Poker machines have been pointed out to be the major culprit among all gambling devices. The same issues are present. Noting that poker machines are readily available to all and that getting addicted to it is not impossible, and with an existing statistics of gamblers whose family life has been put at stake because of their addiction to the game, an inquiry has been made on how the issue can be resolved.
The first option for many would be to restrain the availability of poker machines. At the most, the machines can even be totally banned. While this is an efficient way to address the issue, there are many considerations that may affect this. Casinos around the world employ thousands of workers, and a deep cut in their revenues may mean an unforeseen increase in unemployment. Also, poker machines and other gambling entertainments remit big tax revenues. In New Orleans, for instance, video poker machines accounted over $200 million in taxes.
With such a price tag at stake, it is difficult for the local governments to surrender into banning poker machines. (The Associated Press, 2008, n. p. ) Poker Machines and the World The issues besetting poker machines are not isolated. The same concerns happen all around the world. Actor Russell Crowe moved to ban poker machines in Australia though lost in the voting. (Poker machine ban effort a bust, 2008, n. p. ) The Australian senate, on the other hand, also created the Poker Harm Minimization Bill of 2008, which aims to restrict, limit, and monitor poker machine activities in the country.
The dilemma crosses other continents. Poker machines are big hits across Asia too. Thus, poker machines are often blamed to many social problems. (Man vs. Machine, 2008, n. p. ) However, coinciding with this is the fact that poker machine players often have to deal with other problems, as a study of 43,000 Americans have found. It is therefore concluded that making the game unavailable to gamblers with interrelated problems will not solve their addiction. The same is true with thousand of other gamblers around the world. (Man vs. Machine, 2008, n. p. ) Gambling and the Family
Considering that a big percentage of 43,000 poker-machine playing Americans who underwent the study have other behavioral problems while addicted to the game, it cannot be disclosed that the family problems are caused by playing poker machines. There is the possibility that poker is their way of escaping from the other stresses in their lives. It can also be said that poker is their way of solving their problem—a player whose family is undergoing financial turmoil may think that poker may give him the luck he has been waiting for to ease his family of financial burdens. (Man vs. Machine, 2008, n. p. )
However, it is acceptable to say that there are many players who have become addicted to the game, and at which point became disconnected with their families, begun failing to judge their finances properly, and miscalculated many personal and financial decisions for the sake of playing. The actual percentages of players who belong to these groups are difficult to tell. Yet, in crediting the existence of these two facets, it is easier to recognize the proper solutions to be carried out by the government. Individual choices Before any legislation, legislators must closely study the profile of poker machine players.
In Australia, 62. % of casino players gamble in poker machines. This is a majority of all other casino games and gambling devices. Of these poker machine players, 98% play mainly in casinos and betting clubs. 85. 4% knows that playing the poker machine is a game of chance. Still, 73. 4% can play the machine for up to an hour. (Hing and Breen, 2002, 192) Here, the behavior of players can be seen. It also shows that the wide availability of poker machines elsewhere does little to affect the betting behavior of players, as majority plays mainly on betting clubs. It can be alarming, though, that gamers can sit and bet in the machine for up to an hour.
Thus, this requires a close look. Gamers also have different reasons for playing. For the majority, playing the poker machine is purely to entertain themselves. It was a way to let time pass. A small percentage of the respondents (21. 4%) played for hopes to win. (Hing and Breen, 2002, 192) This dispels the second facet presented herein, where it has been theorized that some players play poker machines for money. It can be associated that because majority of the players see poker machines as a game of luck, there is no certainty of winning or gaining money with it.
In a personal level, respondents who play poker machines have been found to be between 18 and 34 years old. They are singles in the sense that they have never married. Thus, they may have relationships. Majority of them do not have dependents. (Hing and Breen, 2002, 192) This questions the validity of the argument that poker machines break families. With a majority of players without families or living under circumstances of broken families already, it is notable to discuss that poker machines may not be causing the family problems to begin with.
The other issues besetting the players should likely be causing the complications, and thus should be addressed as well. Proposed Implementations The Australian study is a comprehensive view of the profiles of poker machine gamers. However, it is difficult to pattern implementations in other counties with this single study. A rigorous study for each country or state is needed, for which solutions should be patterned. On the other hand, given that these findings are also true elsewhere, the AGA proposes the following strategies for implementation.
With these, it is expected that the Federal Government will be able to find ways to decrease or eliminate the claimed probable causes of poker machines as destructive agents to families. Bet and Time limit Hills (n. d. , n. p. ) assert that a player can bet up to $2 per spin and play up to 200 spins per hour. Finding that majority of poker gamers can sit and bet for up to an hour, it is recommended that time restriction be implemented. A player can bet on a machine for up to the approved maximum time only.
This ensures that the player will not be too absorbed in the game and will remain conscious about his betting behavior and betting practices. Coinciding with this, there should also be a limit on the bets that one can play in a specific set. If the maximum bet for the day has been reached, the player should stop even if the game is less than the maximum allowed. Support for Gaming Advocacies Currently, the American Gaming Association has education drives to combat gaming addiction. While the program has been successful in places where it has been introduced, the group needs the additional mileage that the Federal Government can provide.
The support will also mean more people knowing about the campaign and educated about the ill effects of addictive gambling. It covers both prevention of gaming addiction and cure. Conclusion Many studies have associated gambling with breakage in family ties. With majority of gamblers playing poker machines, the device has become a point of contention. The local government, however, cannot decide on the proper move considering that a bog percentage of community revenues come from the machines. The Federal Government’s inquiry helped assess the situation.
It paved the way to reconciling the benefits of poker machines in terms of the financial help that it is offering and the pre-meditated bad effects that it is highly addictive and that it affects families. A thorough study of gamers is necessary. From their profiles, proper actions can be made. Limits on betting and play can help, as well as support in the education drives such as that of the American Gaming Association. This way, the machines can continue helping the community while avoiding any destructive effect it may have with families.