Responsible Gambling!

HMS, Casinos Say They Are Not Joking

Casino owners are not known for their selflessness. But if their recent relationship with the Harvard Medical School can be said to suggest warmth and caring, then some casino owners apparently do have hearts.

The MGM Mirage, Harah’s Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and the Las Vegas Sands have all granted funds to Harvard Medical School to help finance a new casino employee education program. Employees from Vegas casinos can come to Harvard for a two and a half-day crash course in gambling addiction. There, they learn from the nation’s experts, gaining the skills needed to identify and aid addicts among their customers and peers.

“[The executives] are asking ‘Should we be doing more?’” said Andrew F. Abboud, vice president of government relations and community develpoment at the Venetian. “They want to know how they can help people learn more responsible behavior.”

It’s hard not to be skeptical about such benevolence, but Christine J. Reilly, the HMS addiction institute’s executive director, insists that these casinos really do mean well.

“They know they don’t make that much money off of addicted gamblers, and they know that not everyone can use their product responsibly,” said Reilly. “They are major responsible corporations who want to let people know that they are good responsible citizens.”