Since establishing itself in Macao more than a decade ago, Sands China Ltd. has been taking the lead in responsible gaming efforts through both its own initiatives and through its support of the government’s annual Responsible Gambling Promotions.
Problem gambling has not often been a major part of the community’s conversation, but awareness of the topic has grown significantly through the implementation of strong programmes, which Sands China fully support.
To date, the company remains committed to the well-being of its guests and recognises the importance of responsible gaming to the Macau community.
Sands China seeks to foster responsible gaming behaviour and to continue to strengthen the awareness of problem gambling among its team members and guests.
In 2004, when Sands Macao kicked off operations, Sands China was the first gaming operator to launch a self-exclusion programme. It was also a pioneer in establishing a comprehensive responsible gaming programme in 2007, with the goals of contributing to the ongoing development of the local community, bearing corporate responsibility in addressing social issues, and developing an environment and a culture of responsible gaming in the region.
The company has achieved a series of milestones since 2004, initiating various projects and programmes, and has cooperated with the Macao government to carry out a series of responsible gaming promotion activities.
Besides the addition of responsible gaming signs and leaflets in its gaming areas, Sands China actively cooperated with the government in 2017 to add responsible gaming messages on ATMs as screensavers. Moreover, Sands China is the first company to have taken the initiative to place responsible gaming messages in its properties’ smoking rooms.
Sands China’s latest initiative, Project Protect, comes by way of parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp. The project is a comprehensive global initiative to advance performance in responsible gaming, anti-money laundering and the prevention of human trafficking.
Project Protect coalesces Las Vegas Sands’ efforts around policy and procedural enhancements in each of the three aforementioned core areas. It introduces comprehensive team-member training to build lasting solutions that meet and exceed government regulations and standard industry performance.
Las Vegas Sands has always been a leader in responsible gaming initiatives, and Sands China has likewise always prioritised such efforts. In particular, the company has put policies and procedures in place to safeguard its team members, whom it sees as valuable partners in running its integrated resorts.
“Sands China has always placed importance on being a socially responsible integrated resort developer,” said Winnie Wong, the company’s vice president of corporate communications and community affairs. “One major part of that awareness is a focus on responsible gaming – for our team members, our visitors, and the Macao community. As a company, we are proud of our initiatives in promoting responsible gaming, and we are pleased to continue supporting the Macao government’s Responsible Gambling Promotions.”
Recently, a group of nearly 100 Sands China team members attended the company’s annual Responsible Gaming Ambassador training. The advanced course in responsible gaming enhances team members’ knowledge of problem gambling and awareness of the importance of responsible gaming.
The elite programme is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to responsible gaming in Macau, and is the only one in the city done in coordination with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
It is the sixth consecutive year the company has offered the advanced training, which supplements the company-wide responsible gaming training received by each of Sands China’s more than 28,000 team members.
Currently, the company has nearly 600 Responsible Gaming Ambassadors who are ready and equipped to provide appropriate responses and assistance to patrons exhibiting signs of problem gambling, and who can initiate conversation using crisis management and intervention skills.
The Responsible Gaming Ambassador programme is delivered by world-renowned responsible gaming expert Professor Bo J. Bernhard, executive director of the UNLV International Gaming Institute, who shares his academic insights on responsible gaming knowledge and experience from the United States with team members.
“Each year we incorporate the latest scientific findings into the educational components – as well as the training piece that shows employees how they can interact best on the floor,” said Professor Bernhard.
“We take pride in incorporating leadership development education – not just conventional problem gambling education – into our programme. To this end, it is important to emphasise to team members that learning about problem gambling helps make them leaders across the industry with one of the issues that is the most significant that faces the industry globally,” the expert added.
Alongside the professor are the senior counsellors from the Sheng Kung Hui Gambling Counseling and Family Wellness Centre, who enhance the practical elements of team members’ responsible gaming knowledge and skills in areas such as crisis management and intervention.
The participants work with role-playing scenarios and learn more about the gaming counselling service provided by Sheng Kung Hui – supporting the government’s efforts to further promote the 24-hour counselling hotline.
Besides recruiting teams from table games, security and human resources to attend the training, Sands China has extended the invitation to more departments this year, including slots, marketing, and corporate communications, in order to spread the responsible gaming message and counselling skills to more team members.
Meanwhile, as part of Sands China’s internal Responsible Gaming 2018 campaign, which began in October and last until December, the Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Coordination Office, YMCA Macau, Associação de Juventude Voluntária de Macau (AJVM) and the Gaming Employees’ Home held roadshows last month at Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, Sands Cotai Central and The Parisian Macao.
The promotion seeks to foster responsible gaming behaviour and the continued strengthening of team members’ awareness of problem gambling.
Sands China’s Responsible Gaming 2018 initiative also included a donation of a total of MOP 450,000 to three local responsible gaming centres on October 29 to support responsible gaming efforts: YMCA Macau, the Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Coordination Office, and the Macau Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship. The donations have been an annual practice since 2008.
The Macao government’s annual Responsible Gambling Promotions campaign is organized by the MSAR Social Welfare Bureau, the MSAR Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), and the University of Macau. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the government initiative.
This article is sponsored by Sands China Ltd.