The well-known global restaurant brand and casino operator, Hard Rock International (HRI) launched its new responsible gambling initiative, the PlayersEdge Program, last Tuesday the 3rd of December.
The program was designed by a company in the US and appears to be a rival to the deal MGM Resorts made with British Columbia Lottery Corporation in 2017 called GameSense that targets the prevention of problem gambling in MGMs casinos nationwide.
HRI claim that PlayersEdge will be “the first comprehensive gambling literacy and education program designed by a US-based gaming company”. Combining all marketing platforms such as print, digital, web, social media and live activations as well, the program will roll out across all HRI and Seminole Gaming casinos.
The program is set to tackle the common problem of gambling addiction in a holistic way. Education about gaming facts and skillful game practices are designed to encourage “positive play habits”. It will help players see the warning signs in advance so that they are able to do something before the problem becomes full-blown and causes a lot of irreparable damage. The PlayersEdge program aims to help players understand their gambling behaviour, and players will also be able to self exclude themselves from casinos whilst at the same time take part in helpful and effective counselling services to target the problem head-on.
The voice of the program will be a positive and optimistic one that offers help and advice in a “non-judgemental and supportive” way. The PlayersEdge operators feel that this approach is the key to the program’s success. The messages will be delivered in an upbeat and undramatic way that they hope will draw more problem gamblers in to receive help.
Paul Pellizzari, HRI’s VP of Global Social Responsibility said that the HRI staff would have a key role to play in the success of the PlayersEdge program, of which there are approximately 15,000 who are in face to face contact with customers on a daily basis. The education of this huge workforce will be integral to understanding their player’s behaviour and knowing how to deal with them in an open and healthy way, thus removing the taboo aspect of problem gambling.
The Hard Rock International casino group has been given yet another 3-month extension on their gambling license in the hope that it can finally realise the reality of the Spanish integrated resort project they have been planning.
The project is still on very shaky ground even after the local Catalan government agreed to a further extension on the Hard Rock Entertainment World project last year which is planned for the seaside city of Tarragona. HRI are still confident that they can rectify the landownership problems they are having and carry out the €2 Billion project to completion.
The land was bought from its original owners by the La Caixa bank for the development of a theme park, however, when the first owners realised the extent of the money that would be generated from their land they deemed the sale price unfair. They promptly launched a legal suit to renegotiate the amount of the sale of land so they could be properly recompensed with a top-up payment. As if this wasn’t enough of a spanner in the works, there are also environmentalist groups who are also trying to block the project.
Interestingly, there have been many gambling/resort projects planned for construction in Spain over the last several years, but they have all either been postponed or cancelled altogether due to local governments’ unwillingness to bend their rules for one reason or another. There is another $3.5 billion project by US company Cora Alpha in the pipeline, however it’s future is also uncertain. Their plan is to build in Spain’s Extremadura region and although work was due to start before the end of 2019, as yet there have been no further developments since the application was lodged last summer.
Although HRI’s gaming license has once again been extended by the Catalan officials, the problem doesn’t seem like it will be resolved in the short term. Stay tuned as we keep you updated as to if or when the situation sorts itself out, or if indeed HRI decides to pull out altogether and invest somewhere that isn’t so difficult.