Casino Q & A with Jason Feng, former floor manager with the River Rock Casino. Feng has over 20 years experience with the casino industry.
Q. What if any training do staff undergo to assess if someone has a gambling problem? Eg. If you take a look at the Serving It Right, there are detailed criteria about responsible beverage service, developing and supporting policies that prevent intoxication, handling situations that require intervention, etc. Is there any comparable training you are aware of in BC casinos, and do you know of any other jurisdictions that pursue a “responsibility” program of any kind?
A: All staff at GCC go through training on assessing gambling problems similar to Serving it Right (which they also have to complete), called ART (Applied Response Training). Dealers and supervisors complete Level 1 and management has an additional Level 2 and or 3 module. I don’t know about other jurisdictions but I assume they would have something similar.
Q: Speaking of the couple involved in the recent Richmond murder suicide, you said that in retrospect you realize they showed signs of something amiss. Accelerated play, more frequency, higher betting pattern. In terms of management or staff, however, what would you or could you have done to intervene?
A: Part of ART training told us that ultimately it is their own money. If they were fighting or acted strangely then perhaps we could have said something. Other than increased amount played, they seemed pretty normal. A person that drinks every day probably has a drinking problem. A person that gambles every day does not necessarily have a gambling problem, while somebody that gambles only once a week may have one.
Q: Are you saying that no matter what you can’t stop a customer from gambling
unless they are causing a disturbance or behaving in a way that would get them kicked out of any licensed premises?
A: That’s more or less true. A bar can cut off a customer because a number of things will eventually happen (passes out, starts swearing, or “you just know”). But with the policies in place, we (well I guess I have to say “they”) cannot stop somebody from gambling just because they are losing (or winning) or playing a lot. I mentioned before about people who have been there for an extended period of time, perhaps going to the hotel room for a quick nap then coming back down. It’s “their” money.
We do have people who have fallen asleep while playing on the table. The procedure is to wake them up and warn them once. After that it’s up to management to decide what happens if they doze off again.