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7/30/2012

For the 15th Year Iowa’s Commercial Casinos Highlight Responsible Gaming Education Awareness on July 30-August 3

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Iowa’s 18 commercial casinos that are members of the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) are All In For Responsible Gaming, which is the theme of this year’s Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW). During the week of July 30 through August 3 the gaming industry will focus on advocating responsible gaming through educating and engaging their communities and citizens. 

This is the 15th consecutive year that the gaming industry has held events to promote a proactive responsible gaming message. Employees, family, friends and casino customers will discuss and learn to know the odds of all casino games and learn the steps to playing responsibly. The IGA members are also welcoming their respective area gambling treatment centers to participate in RGEW activities at their casino. Initiatives will include best places to display assistance brochures, training staff to interact with patrons and the appropriate intervention skills to come to the aid of those exhibiting compulsive behavior. The treatment counselors will also educate the public about best practices, prevention and awareness efforts and treatment services including the 800 BETS OFF helpline
Many worthwhile resources will be highlighted during this year’s RGEW week,” said Wes Ehrecke, President of the Iowa Gaming Association. 
Those include significant efforts to train casino employees, as well as those aimed at casino patrons such as personalized assessments to gauge compulsive behavior, a voluntary statewide self-exclusion trespass program for those individuals who identify themselves as needing assistance and a helpful "Understanding the Odds" guide prepared by the American Gaming Association that discusses the level of house advantage that exists with all games of chance based on random outcome. 
"These beneficial tools are helping educate employees and patrons year-round during our ongoing focus on responsible gaming,” said Ehrecke. “When players know the odds of winning they can make more informed decisions and keep it fun and entertaining.” 
To assist people seeking help, the IGA provides several resources.  They include the First Step to Change, an online guide to changing gambling behavior; the downloadable voluntary statewide self-exclusion form; a quiz to try and identify who is 21?, as well as links to Iowa’s gambling treatment centers, the I-800-Bets-Off Hotline, plus other tips. 
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad also issued a Proclamation recognizing the importance of RGEW. Each of IGA’s 18 state-regulated and commercially licensed casinos has at least one person designated to serve on the Association’s Responsible Gaming Group. They meet quarterly to share best practices and discuss a checklist that was tailored from the Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct. This effort helps to assure proactive initiatives and new ideas are being shared, and that casinos are collaborating with organizations interested in curbing problem gambling and offering proactive responsible gaming efforts.
Peer-reviewed research indicates that well over 98 percent of individuals can go to a casino for the fun and entertainment it is,” said Ehrecke.  “The bottom line is it is imperative to have an ongoing year-around focus on responsible gaming to assure the small percentage of individuals that need assistance can find the help and recovery they deserve.”

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