The nonprofit Massachusetts gambling addiction group inadvertently announced free slot machine spins as part of a fundraiser. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
When you are an organization that works to help problem gamblers, the thing you tend not to do is encourage them to gamble. Somewhat unbelievably, it was recently discovered that the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health (MACGH), a nonprofit gambling addiction group, is advertising free slot machine spins. This seems to backfire.
What appeared to be a fundraising partnership between the council and a casino
According to its website, MACGH is a private, nonprofit agency that “promotes public health by mitigating the negative personal and societal effects of gambling and gaming.” Anti-gambling advocates expressed their dismay when they saw what appeared to be a fundraising partnership between the council and a casino.
The Fundraising event It was already done, having been announced on the council’s Facebook page. Toys for Tots took place at Plainridge Park Casino on December 1; The flyer stated that the event was in coordination with the Massachusetts Board of Games and Health. In one of the promotions for the event, people who purchased a game received $10 in free slot machines to play at the casino.
Plainridge Park Casino is a slot machine property – with slots and electronic table games – and is one of three commercial casinos in Massachusetts.
People were shocked when they saw that the Gambling Addiction Prevention Organization might have been part of a fundraiser that was motivating people to donate by offering a free slot machine game. People have expressed concerns about such a group working closely with a casino interest in the state.
Concerns about the impact of the flyer
Stop Predatory Gambling’s Harry Levant announced that the board has encouraged its social media followers to go to the casino to access some of the free games. Naturally, some people with gambling addiction follow the board’s Facebook page.
Levant himself is a recovering gambling addict who is currently pursuing a PhD in gambling addiction research. He wonders how many gambling addicts have ended up going to the casino to take advantage of the offer and will need help again.
The council wanted to share the bulletin, but had not properly reviewed its contents
In response to a request for an explanation from local media, a spokesperson for MACGH explained that the board wanted to share the post, but had not properly reviewed its contents. He was unaware that a gambling incentive existed for the donors and that the original post on social media had been taken down.