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Mass. Gambling Commission Implementing Plan To Curb Gambling Addiction

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is implementing a plan that would allow people to control how much they spend at casinos in the state by setting a limit before they hit the slots.

The 'Play My Way' system, a first in the country, will allow slots players to set a budget and receive notifications about their spending through enrollment in a rewards card.

"If they do choose to use the program, they receive notices at 50 percent, 75 percent, 100 percent, and every 25 percent thereafter of the budget they had determined for themselves," said Mark Vander Linden, the Gaming Commission's director of research and responsible gaming.

Vander Linden briefed commissioners on the program Thursday at the Gaming Commission's 182nd public meeting. The system is being piloted at Plainridge Park in Plainville at the end of May, and could be implemented at all casinos built in the state.

More: Plainridge Park Owners Defend Revenue Declines At Casino

Gaming Commission chairman Steve Crosby told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker that the program is all voluntary, just like other tools people already use.

"Like your FitBit thing to count your steps," said Crosby. "You know, this is a voluntary tool to help encourage you to act in a way that's in your own best interests."

Vander Linden says the goal is simple.

"To increase the level of awareness for patrons so they can make an informed decision about whether they continue to gamble, whether they stop, and how much they spend," said Vander Linden.

There are still some things to take care of, like marketing and training at the slots parlor in Plainville.

At the end of a trial run, the program will be assessed to see how it worked and whether or not it should go into other casinos as they open throughout the state.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker Reports:

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