|MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 13 -- Harrah's Entertainment
has taken its proactive leadership in responsible gaming to a new level
by issuing new company-wide standards impacting such areas as employee
training and marketing practices and customer self-restriction.
For many years, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: HET) has been the industry leader for pioneering responsible gaming programs like Operation Bet Smart and Project 21. Now, with the publishing of company-wide responsible gaming standards and guidebook for each of its properties, Harrah's Entertainment is further distancing itself as the leader the industry. Even though studies have consistently proven the number of people with compulsive gaming problems is a very small percentage of the population, we feel it's important to be proactive and take a lead in responsible gaming," said Harrah's Entertainment Chairman and CEO Phil Satre. "Not only is it the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. In addition to being helpful in directing those with a problem to appropriate sources of help, we are focused on creating a gaming experience and environment that is comfortable and appropriate for our target customers, players who gamble for fun and entertainment."
The Harrah's Entertainment company-wide standards address such areas as: setting up a responsible gaming committee at a property; training programs; suggested property collateral materials; policies on issuance of credit; administration of customer self-restriction; unattended children policies; and policies on appropriate marketing practices, including the use of third party mailing lists. Properties within the Harrah's brand will now begin establishing their own plans to implement and come into compliance with the company standards. It is expected that all Harrah's brand properties will have all elements in place by the end of the summer. The Rio and Showboat brands became a part of Harrah's Entertainment properties within the last year and are not yet on the company systems. They will over time adopt the appropriate elements of the Responsible Gaming policies and practices at their properties.
"There is no one else in the casino gaming industry who has stepped up to the plate to this degree," says Harrah's Entertainment Director of Public Affairs Mary Jane Fuller. "These guidelines are the most comprehensive in the industry today.
"For example, there are several states in which we operate that have self- restriction regulations," she says. "We have gone farther than simply complying in those states. The company philosophy is that, since we encourage cross-market visitation among our brands and casinos, we should have the same practices in place everywhere. Our marketing systems will enable the company eventually to apply the self-restriction procedures across all of our brands. These company-wide standards illustrate the commitment of our senior management to being a leader in this area."
Harrah's Entertainment pioneered the casino entertainment industry's responsible gaming efforts in the 1980s when a task force of employees, recovering compulsive gamblers and clinicians was formed to study the issues of problem gambling. This resulted in Operation Bet Smart, an awareness campaign targeting employees, guests and the industry, and Project 21, a program that teaches casino employees, minors, parents and guardians about the consequences of gambling under the legal age. Both programs have become models for the industry with some states adopting them for their regulatory requirements.
Additionally, Harrah's works with local affiliates of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. and other health and service organizations to promote better understanding of the issues of compulsive and underage gambling. The company also supports the National Center for Responsible Gaming which is currently conducting new research to help Harrah's and others better understand compulsive and underage gambling.
Earlier this year, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, called for several new voluntary initiatives to curb disordered and underage gambling. To this end, the AGA has used Harrah's Entertainment as an example in the development of a kit that provides the necessary tools for those casino companies interested in implementing a comprehensive responsible gaming program.
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the most recognized and respected name in the casino entertainment industry operating 18 casinos nationwide under the Harrah's, Showboat and Rio brand names, and the Star City casino in Sydney, Australia. Founded more than 60 years ago, Harrah's is focused on building loyalty and brand value with its targeted customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.
|Also See:||Pathological Gambling Report Released / March 1999|
|Gambling Has Permeated Every Corner of Society and is Inflicting Great Harm on Families, Individuals and, Especially, on Children / James C. Dobson, Ph.D / March 1999|
|Comments on the Gaming Industry: Big and Getting Bigger / Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / April 1999|