Gamblers’ Perceptions of Stakeholder Responsibility for Minimizing Gambling Harm

  • Heather M. GrayEmail author
  • Debi A. LaPlante
  • Brett Abarbanel
  • Bo J. Bernhard
Original Article


Increasingly, industry operators and governments espouse the view that they play a role in minimizing gambling harm and have developed and implemented programs and policies designed to promote responsible gambling. However, little is known about gamblers’ perceptions of responsibility for minimizing gambling harm or whether these perceptions are linked to gamblers’ own experience of gambling harm. Gamblers’ perceptions of stakeholder responsibility for minimizing gambling harm could impact not only their gambling behavior but also the potential for legal action following excessive financial loss. We surveyed participants selected from MGM Resorts International (MGM)’s loyalty card database (N = 3748) regarding their perceptions of responsibility for minimizing gambling harm. Additionally, we administered the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS), the Positive Play Scale, and measures assessing participants’ understanding of gambling concepts and use of responsible gambling strategies. Compared to those who screened negative, participants who screened positive on the BBGS had more diffuse conceptions of responsibility for minimizing gambling harm and were more likely to hold five particular stakeholder groups (e.g., MGM Resorts employees, government regulators, public safety officials) responsible. In multivariate analyses, participants’ distributed sense of responsibility for reducing gambling harm predicted their BBGS status over and above other risk factors (i.e., Positive Play, understanding of gambling concepts, use of responsible gambling strategies). We discuss implications for responsible gambling programs and policies.


Gambling Casino gambling Problem gambling Responsible gambling Corporate social responsibility Gambling disorder Brief biosocial gambling screen 



This study was funded by MGM Resorts International. MGM Resorts International, as the funding body, was not involved in the study design, data analysis or interpretation, writing of the report, nor decisions related to journal submission.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All study procedures were approved by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Institutional Review Board and were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no financial interests in the research activities reported in this manuscript. The Division on Addiction currently receives funding from DraftKings, Inc.; the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR); the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via the Indian Health Service with funds approved by National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health; the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals/The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust; and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. During the past 5 years, the Division on Addiction has received funding from Aarhus University Hospital with funds approved by The Danish Council for Independent Research; ABMRF—The Foundation for Alcohol Research; Digital Entertainment; Caesars Enterprise Services, LLC; the Cambridge Police Department with funds approved by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention; the David H. Bor Library Fund, Cambridge Health Alliance; DraftKings, Inc.; FAAR, Heineken USA, Inc.; Fenway Health; The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via the Indian Health Service with funds approved by National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health; Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling; Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services; and Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, National Center for Responsible Gaming, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Hong Kong, and Worcester House of Correction. Drs. Gray and LaPlante have received course royalty fees from the Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education. Dr. Gray has served as a paid program evaluator for Duffy Health Center, has served as a paid grant reviewer for the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), has received travel funds from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals/The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, has received honoraria funds for preparation of a book chapter from Universite Laval, and has received travel funds and honoraria from the NCRG. Dr. LaPlante has received travel funds from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the NCRG, and British Columbia Lottery Corp. for conference presentations, royalty funds from the American Psychological Association and Harvard Health Publications, honoraria funds for preparation of a book chapter from Universite Laval, grant review funds from the NCRG, and funds from the NCRG for participation in a think tank. Drs. Gray and LaPlante are non-paid members of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Council on Problem Gambling. Dr. Abarbanel has received funding (2013–2018) from the Manitoba Gambling Research Program, GP Consulting, U.S.–Japan Business Council, Wynn Las Vegas, Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation, Bermuda Casino Gambling Commission, the State of Nevada, Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling, iDevelopment and Economic Association, Majestic Star Casinos, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment. She has received reimbursement for travel from Association Cluster Sport International, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, International Association of Gaming Advisors, GambleAware, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Ultimate Media Ventures, Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling, and IGT Latin America. She is a member of the Singapore National Council on Problem Gambling International Advisory Panel, for which she receives compensation for her time. Dr. Bernhard’s work has received funding (2013–2018) from the U.S.–Japan Business Council, Wynn Resorts, Ocho Gaming, Las Vegas Sands, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Governor’s Advisory Panel on Problem Gambling, the State of Nevada Knowledge Fund, and MGM Resorts International. He has received travel and/or honoraria for presenting his research in more than two dozen countries.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division on AddictionCambridge Health AllianceMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.UNLV International Gaming InstituteUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

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