At the end of February as President and CEO Mark Frissora toured Japan, Caesars Entertainment announced that they would immediately be donating 25 million yen (about US$240,000) to responsible gaming initiatives in Japan. Asia Gaming Brief reached out to Caesars to gain details about how precisely they planned to allocate these funds.
Broadly, the donation is to be used across four areas: 1) working with Japanese researchers; 2) creating a local messaging program to prevent problem gambling; 3) bringing together international experts and Japanese stakeholders; and 4) providing support to educate and inform local communities about responsible gaming.
Much of the plan remains at an embryonic stage, with Caesars still in the process of finding the Japanese institutions and individuals that it will partner with. There also does not appear to be a deadline by which the budget is to be spent.
Indeed, Caesars tells AGB that they regard this donation as part of their larger program of corporate social responsibility: “We anticipate future, additional allocations when meaningful ways to contribute to society are identified, not necessarily related to responsible gaming.”
Much of this initiative appears to be focused on trying to bring international research on responsible gaming into the Japanese local context: “Caesars understands that existing programs from elsewhere shouldn’t simply be translated and implemented, but should be informed from a local perspective and tailored to culture of Japan. Therefore, we will initially be using the funds to research the cultural adaptation of the design and delivery of Caesars industry-leading responsible gaming program and materials, and intend to make the findings available to any interested parties.”
As for the public messaging strategy, they note, “The funds will be used to create messaging that encourages positive play, providing examples, techniques, and modeling opportunities, e.g. ‘most people set a budget.’ These techniques can be applied to all gaming entertainment in order to keep the activity fun.”
Most major international IR operators have been speaking about problem gambling concerns when addressing Japanese audiences, but Caesars is the first to actually donate funds to such an initiative—with the possible exception of Melco and its development of the MelGuard system, meant to keep certain individuals out of casinos and which is portrayed by that company, in part, as a measure to prevent problem gambling.