Harrah's Entertainment and Responsible Gaming

by: Mary Jane Fuller - Director of Public Affairs
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.

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What is "Responsible Gaming?" For Harrah's Entertainment, it is our commitment to promote responsible behavior among our casino guests, our employees and our industry. Compulsive gambling, underage gambling and children left unattended while parents game are serious issues. We believe that all entities involved in legal wagering should demonstrate positive action in addressing these problems

Harrah¹s pioneered the casino industry¹s first responsible gaming efforts more than a decade ago, when a group of employees formed a task force to study the issues of problem gambling. After months of research, the task force developed the industry's first initiative to learn about, understand and find proactive solutions to encourage responsible gaming behavior.

As one of the largest casino companies, Harrah¹s Entertainment continues today to be the chief advocate for promoting responsible gaming in the industry with the continued creation of programs and new policies that target our employees, our customers, our communities, and the industry as a whole.

These programs include:

Today, several casino companies and state governments, as well as the American Gaming Association, have sought Harrah's assistance to create and even adopt our responsible gaming programs within their own organizations. Additionally, Harrah's works with the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. and local health and service agencies to promote a better understanding of the issues of compulsive and underage gambling. We were awarded the National Council's first corporate award, which recognized Harrah's for its proactive efforts to address problem gambling issues within the industry. We hope that through our programs and our financial support of the National Center for Responsible Gaming, new research will generate better public and industry understanding of these issues, and new ideas to promote responsible practice and behavior within one of the most exciting entertainment venues: casino entertainment.

Making a smart bet in most games includes understanding the game. In any casino game, it includes knowing your limit. Operation Bet Smart: Know When To Stop Before You Start® began as a formal training program at Harrah¹s to help frontline employees understand the signs researchers believe indicate someone may have a gambling problem. While we recognize our employees are not social service counselors, Harrah's Entertainment feels that encouraging employee awareness puts employees at a comfort level, helping them understand the company's position on the issue as well as supplying them with valuable information and direction to potentially help others.

At all our casinos, we provide signage on the casino floor and back-of-house to help employees remember where help is available. These signs serve to provide our customers an unobtrusive vehicle for obtaining more information about gambling addiction.

In 1995, Harrah's Entertainment helped fund the creation and start-up of the first national helpline (1-800-522-4700) for problem gambling, providing callers with counseling and direction to local assistance in any state. Our funding to assist local health service agencies, councils and seminars continues yearly through funding efforts by our corporate office and casino properties. Knowing gambling problems could potentially reach the "other side" of the table, Harrah's Entertainment provides confidential counseling assistance for employees through our Employee Assistance Program.

On a continuing basis, the company requires that employee newsletters address compulsive gambling to promote on-going awareness and reinforce our position: we do not want compulsive gamblers in our casinos. We also require that our casino marketing materials, print ads, and player cards contain the national (or local) 1-800 helpline number. Due to our company's leading-edge computer technology, we most recently enacted new policies for complying with a person's wish to be restricted from our marketing by request.

Our "self-restriction" policy aims to restrict any person, who has an admitted gambling problem, from being contacted through direct marketing by Harrah¹s Entertainment casinos, as well as denied credit or play if discovered at any of our properties. It is the most aggressive policy yet created by a casino company that involves the actual restriction of marketing, credit and play. Forms to request self-restriction are available at our central reservation center or by calling 1-800-443-3698.

Casinos aren't for kids. We do not hesitate to uphold the laws concerning the legal gambling age in each state and to ensure the safety of our guests, including the children of our players.

For the last ten years, Harrah's has been the chief advocate of Project 21®, now an industry-wide program that encompasses employee training and public awareness about underage gambling. Harrah's Entertainment is committed to keeping minors off the casino floor. We¹ve backed Project 21 with the creation of a scholarship program that teaches teens, young adults and parents the consequences of gambling under the legal age. Project 21 is now a licensed program for any casino in our industry to use, and any casino can contribute to Project 21 scholarship efforts. We are very proud that the success of Project 21 has led it outside our doors into the halls of high schools across the U.S.

Other Project 21 efforts include front and back-of-house signage, detailed employee training on the cues for identifying minors, and the ongoing creation of materials to keep employees and players aware. Like Operation Bet Smart, Project 21 also includes the creation of materials for public education, such as TV public service announcements.

Another educational campaign and policy that Harrah's Entertainment has brought to the forefront concerning kids is loitering, or more specifically, the presence of unattended children on property. Seeking to urge parents not to leave their children without adult supervision, every Harrah's Entertainment casino has standard procedures to promote parental responsibility and protect the safety of children and minors. Parents are warned through signage and brochures about our policies, and employees are asked to keep an eye out and call security for any child that does not know his or her parents' whereabouts.

Upon catching a minor trying to gamble through false identification, or finding any child left willfully unattended by a guardian, our security officers will intervene and may contact outside law enforcement. We want all of our customers to have an enjoyable time at our properties, but we will not condone breaking the law. "We care, we card" and we will take action.

Our Commitment

To Our Employees:

To Our Customers:

To The Communities Where We Operate:

Signs and Symptoms Of Compulsive Gambling

Harrah's Entertainment invites other members of the casino industry to join us in promoting responsible gaming.


Ms. Fuller is the Director of Public Affairs for Harrah's Entertainment. Previously, she was director of Community Relations, a position she held since 1988. She joined the company in 1980 as an EEO/Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Specialist, and has nurtured the company through its years of organizational growth and change: Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is now the most geographically diversified casino entertainment company in North America. She has assumed responsibilities for the company's responsible gaming programs, for the selection and management of a national charity, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and for the corporate wide employee volunteer programs. Ms. Fuller currently serves on the American Gaming Association Task Force on Responsible Gaming and is a frequent speaker at national forums on that topic.

Ms. Fuller is active in the community, serving on numerous boards both locally and nationally, such as the National Civil Rights Museum, Goals for Memphis, the Junior League Advisory Board, Shelby State Community College Foundation Board, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. She previously was Chairman of the Board of Leadership Memphis, a 1980 graduate of the class, and a recipient of the Kate Gooch Award for Service. Ms. Fuller served as Vice-President for Regional Development on the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce board. She has also served on the board of the Memphis Arts Council. She is the immediate past chairman of the board and a founding member of Memphis Arts Festival, which produces Arts in the Park. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the mother of two daughters. In her rare leisure moments, she enjoys cooking, entertaining friends and gardening.

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A reader from Connecticut, USA. , September 26, 1999 
Harrah's is obviously a leader and at the forefront of the gaming industry in promoting responsible gaming. I hope others will emulate their efforts.

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