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Sep 16, 2019

Responsible Gaming Ambassadors reflect on 30 Years of Responsible Gaming at Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Entertainment’s best-in-class Responsible Gaming Program is honoring its 30th anniversary. The company's first responsible gaming initiatives, “Project 21” and “Operation Bet Smart” helped pioneer the industry standards. In 2003, the company launched its Responsible Gaming Ambassador Program. Now in 2019, there are more than 1,200 Responsible Gaming Ambassadors in North America at Caesars Entertainment properties. Caesars Entertainment also pledged more than $1 million to the National Center for Responsible Gaming and other third-party institutions to help shape the future of Responsible Gaming.

Since 2003, the number of Responsible Gaming Ambassadors has grown along with its innovative program, successfully helping a number of guests who have indicated they may have a gambling problem.

Some of our Responsible Gaming Ambassadors shared their experiences:

David Pierce

With a Responsible Gaming folder in hand, David Pierce walked over to the table games office at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Upon arrival, he found a couple and a manager waiting for him.

“They asked the table games manager and me to impose a gaming self-restriction for the husband,” said Pierce, who is currently the assistant slot manager at Planet Hollywood.

The interaction was Pierce’s first responsible gaming incident he was asked to assist with as a newly trained Responsible Gaming Ambassador.

Pierce has been with Caesars Entertainment in a variety of roles at Harrah’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, and Planet Hollywood.

Pierce took the Responsible Gaming Ambassador training while he was working as a slot manager at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

“After the introduction to the Responsible Gaming Program, I became more appreciative of its goal, which was to help guests,” said Pierce.

He said he learned a lot in training and highly recommends that other team members take the in-house course and become Responsible Gaming Ambassadors. “In training, I learned about a range of topics, like how and when to apply Caesars Entertainment’s Responsible Gaming application to the proper handling of what are very sensitive incidents and conversations. I learned that different states have different Responsible Gaming programs and that our company tries to work with all of them to keep our guests in a good place,” said Pierce.

Caesars Entertainment was the first to introduce a Responsible Gaming Program, Project 21, in the gaming industry 30 years ago in December 1989.“It shows moral fortitude in an industry that is often seen as having none,” said Pierce. “I believe every [gaming] company should have some form or vision of the responsible gaming program because caring for your guests is an attribute the team members and the community can get behind.”

Pierce said he encourages eligible team members to take the respective training to see if being a Responsible Gaming Ambassador is the right role for them.

“Being a Responsible Gaming Ambassador is unique from any other position in the company,” said Pierce. “The more Responsible Gaming Ambassadors we have at Caesars Entertainment, the better equipped we are to help our guests.”

Bryce Kawano

“I saw first-hand what effect a gambling problem can have on people, and how a gambling problem may affect the people closest to them. I knew then that I wanted to help others going through the same situation,” said Bryce Kawano, Casino Manager of Slots at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, as he reminisced on why he wanted to become a Responsible Gaming Ambassador.

Kawano has been with Caesars Entertainment for the past 17 years. He is currently the Responsible Gaming Chairperson at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. He manages the Responsible Gaming Ambassadors at the property and holds quarterly Responsible Gaming meetings with his team to ensure they are maintaining brand standards and are prepared to have conversations with guests.

In his 17 years, Kawano has seen a lot of changes in the gaming industry.

“Online gaming and multi-state gaming has changed the gaming industry,” said Kawano.

“Helping someone is about trying to build enough trust with a guest so that they feel comfortable enough to talk to you about their issue and to show them that we are concerned and here to help. Most often, the case is that they know what happened and that someone is there to take the time to listen,” said Kawano. “Once they understand we are offering a Responsible Gaming Program to help them get through this difficult time and not judge them, the process of recovery can begin. The best outcomes for me are the ones that have turned their life around through the process. They were able to overcome their gambling problem and grow from their experience.”

All Caesars Entertainment team members are trained in Responsible Gaming protocols within 30 days of hire and our customer-facing team members are required to take an annual Responsible Gaming refresher course. Responsible Gaming is a core component of our company’s operation and a commitment to the communities in which we operate. Within the past five years, our team has spent more than 270,000 hours of training in Responsible Gaming.