South Korea Pilots Problem Gambling Program
In an effort to combat perceived social ills associated with problem gamblers, one South Korean casino has enacted a program that actually pays those it considers to be at-risk not to frequent their establishment.
While many options are available to combat the effects of problem gambling, including preventative measures like self-exclusion programs and pre-engagement software, South Korea’s Kangwon Land casino has taken a novel approach to the problem.
The program Kangwon Land has launched actually compensates problem gamblers for staying away from gambling venues and maintaining a “sober” lifestyle. The program provides these problem gamblers with KRW 50,000, or about $45 a day to stay away. At this point, 30 participants are enrolled in the program, each of which have admitted to spending a minimum of 60 days at the Kangwon Land casino in the past year. Currently, the casino limits players’ visits to no more than 15 times per month. Many other players have participated in a similar program that limits their casino visiting to no more than five times each month.
Kangwon Land casino is the largest earning gaming venue of all South Korea’s 16 casinos. It is also the only casino venue in which South Koreans are allowed to participate in gambling activities. As a result, it takes special care to maintain its unique foothold in the local market.
The program has been met with optimism and quite a bit of good press according to Kangwon Land Addiction Care Center (KLACC) officials, one of which who commented to publication Korea Bizwire regarding the “great reaction” received from the public and the fact so many individuals are opting to join these programs “by choice rather than by force.”
The KLAAC has gone so far as to give presentations to industry officials from Singapore and Japan who also hold similar concerns over problem gambling habits among casino patrons.
Issues at Home
While Asian Markets are moving to tackle problem gambling in a big way, In the US many operators are worried over budget cuts. Many such public health programs to treat problem behaviors face funding cuts under new iterations of a national health care bill proposed by President Donald Trump and his administration.
Officials of several gaming-affiliated organizations, including those from the American Gaming Association (AGA), National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), and the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), all expressed concern over the proposed cuts. These officials sent a unified statement to Washington, pleading with politicians to “recognize gambling disorders as a public health issue that merits inclusion” and to maintain resources to combat the issue in the form of government mandated funding.
March of 2017 alone is expected to receive a 30% increase in problem gambling-related cases. This is due largely to the fact that March provides several opportunities for problem gamblers to indulge in their favorite pastime. It is estimated that $10 billion in bets alone will be placed on NCAA basketball championship games throughout the month.
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