Graphic by Dave Colavito, 2014 data from Grinols and Omorov 1996-97
On 24 April 2014 I sent to the Director for Policy, Development and External Affairs of the NYS Gaming Commission the following e-note with two attachments, one of which was posted yesterday on the CAGNY web site below a copy of the April 24 cover e-note, repeated here.
Attached are two documents I earnestly hope the Chairman and all the Commissioners will read carefully and discuss with the GFLB. Both are about “problem gambling,” the subject of the April 9 forum convened by the Gaming Commission. Watching the videotape and reading the transcript (everyone should thank the GC for providing these so fast) I saw that “problem gambling” was an elusive term. The extreme importance to the casino economy of net losses from problem gamblers was nowhere mentioned except when the speaker from Caesars deflected the issue. Yet around the “central statistic of casino revenues,” on which I have written to the Commission, is the “central dilemma” of regulation: the better the regulation is at preventing problem gambling, the lower is the casinos’ profit margin.
Selected prevalence statistics were presented as if they are the be-all and the end-all of gambling behavior studies. They are about all we have, but a poor stand-in for what we really want to know about time trends in social impacts, i.e. incidence and duration. Under the placid surface of what looks like stable prevalence, much new damage continues; as problem gamblers recover or die, new ones must be recruited to take their places.
As I have offered before, I’m [ready] almost any time to meet with the Commissioners and staff to explain the critiques in more detail and to talk about “the central statistic.”
Thank you for your attention.
Stephen Q. Shafer, MD, MA, MPH Chairperson, Coalition Against Gambling in New York 917 453 7371 http://cagnyinf.org [ Cover note ends here]
No surprise, the Commission has not responded to these unsolicited comments. Does that mean the Commissioners have all accepted the assurances (see below) of the Executive from Caesars Entertainment that the organization does not make money from “problem gamblers” and does ” not want them in [their] venues?” If yes, it is a monumental mistake. I cannot speak for Caesars Entertainment in particular, but it would be unique if it does not make money from what most people call problem gamblers To wrongly assume Ms Shatley’s artful discounting of problem gamblers fits all casinos would be an easy stretch to make, even if Caesars is unique. It would be worse yet if the attitude “casinos don’t want problem gamblers” were communicated to the Gaming Facilities Location Board members. The GFLB is charged to consider plans by applicants to address problem gambling. The Board must understand how important problem gamblers are to the casino exchange.
Below is the text of the second attachment that was sent to the Gaming Commission on April 24, slightly revised. The text of the other attachment sent the same day was posted yesterday on this web site along with the cover e-note.