PHILLIP J. BOUCHER
Electronic Gaming Machine Addiction Consultation Services
My reason in providing EGM consultation services is to ultimately help players either conquer their gambling addiction or prevent them from getting one. I intend to do this:
By providing training to problem gambling counselors in EGM design and operation enabling them to counsel clients more effectively.
Working with gaming venues and regulatory jurisdictions to implement on-site programs and customer/employee training sessions on EGM design and operation.
Through the presentation of seminars to the public that explain how EGMs are designed and operate.
Giving speaking engagements to clubs, groups, and organizations.
Through articles, books, radio, and TV appearances to reach addicts and their family and friends.
By providing expert witness testimony in disputes on EGM operation and outcomes.
TRAINING FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING COUNSELORS
I am convinced from my years in the gaming industry that the majority of problem gambling issues related to Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) are a direct result of the myths, misconceptions, and urban legends that find their way into books, magazines, and newspapers, and on television and radio on a constant basis. In fact, I am convinced that these false beliefs are far more of a contributing factor to EGM addiction than all of the genetic, environmental, and addictive personality issues put together. Problem gambling counselors can only go so far as to what their training and experience enables them to. However, when treating someone addicted to slots, video slots, video poker, and video lottery terminals, they lack the knowledge and understanding of how these devices actually work to effectively counsel clients.
I provide training to counselors in the design and operation of EGMs so they have a full understanding of exactly how they work. I discuss the myths, misconceptions, and urban legends that players believe and use to justify their addiction. We look at examples of some of the more common falsehoods that players believe and get to the root of the addictive cause and dispel the falsehood, bringing a more rational understanding of EGMs to the client and breaking them of their addictive behaviour.
Training service fees are based on the location of the agency, the number of counselors in the session for materials, travel time and expenses, other related expenses such as accommodation, meals, phone, fax, etc., and any unforeseen or additional expenses as may be required by the client.
CONSULTANT TO GAMING VENUES AND REGULATORY JURISDICTIONS
Gaming can be a fun and exciting experience and gaming establishments such casinos and racetrack slots do their best to market this entertainment industry and maintain a loyal customer base. Governmental regulatory agencies also do their best to ensure and maintain an honest and open compliance mechanism so that the same customer base knows that the utmost honesty and integrity has gone into regulating the machines they play. This regulatory compliance makes the gaming industry one of the most honest industries in the world, and is the second most regulated industry next to nuclear energy.
The regulatory agencies and the gaming venues also realize that to provide and market a successful industry, they must address the issue that some of their customers may become addicted to the entertainment provided. To maintain honesty and integrity, and to cover themselves legally, both parties in cooperation between themselves and outside agencies, provide information on the dangers of problem gambling and ways to seek help in addressing it. This may be done through self-exclusion programs, pamphlets or brochures, the prominent posting of phone numbers to call for help, or with on-site third party agencies. These paths are excellent starting points to addressing EGM problem gambling.
By working with the owners and operators of gaming establishments and the government regulators, I help them understand how customers get addicted through the belief of Myths, Misconceptions, and Urban Legends (MMUL). I work with them to develop additional ways to approach and talk to these customers. Then I help them develop in house programs to try to help customers get away from these false beliefs. This may include "Learn to Play Slots" seminars on the gaming floor, given by employees I train, that show customers how slots really work, how to play them properly by understanding the printed pay table and other matter, and proper money management, so they realize slots are for entertainment, not investment.
As with the counselor training services, consulting service fees will vary in much the same way.
GUEST SPEAKER AND SEMINARS
I am available as a guest speaker at your next function. Whether your group or organization is pro or anti gambling, aligned to the gaming industry or not, or just interested in the real truth about Electronic Gaming Machines (slot machines), I can provide an informative and entertaining talk.
In the future, I will putting on seminars to educate the general public in the truth about EGMs.
ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS
I plan on writing more articles and books that address EGM addiction. I am also available to newspapers, magazines, radio talk shows, and television programs for interviews on EGM addiction, to address current EGM news topics with my personal opinion, or debate the gambling addiction issue with those both for and against EGM gambling.
EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY
Many players don't realize that the legal phrase on an EGM, "Malfunction Voids all Pays and Plays" means just that. Any machine malfunction may void any pay or play that the customer feels they are entitled to, and the gaming venue has every legal right to do so. However, if the malfunction does not in any way detract from any legitimate win, the gaming venue will pay the customer even if a malfunction occurs. If there is no legitimate win, the customer will not get any money they think is due them, they will receive their played credits back, and that will spin will be null and void. For example, if the power goes out on a machine, the reels will spin freely and may land on a winning combination. This is not a legitimate win no matter how much the player protests, threatens, or cries. Once power is restored to the machine, it will complete the spin and show the combination that had been generated before the power outage. It could be a winning or non-winning combination and the customer gets only what the machine shows at that point.
As such, over ninety-nine percent of the time when a malfunction occurs on a machine, the player has no legitimate claim to any supposed win or compensation and I would be providing my expert opinion on the side of the gaming venue or regulator. However, there may be an instance where the customer may be right. Expert witness testimony is usually sought by the plaintiff, in these cases, the player. Simply by hearing what happened, I can tell the player that they do not have a case and would not able to be a witness for them. If they insist, I inform them that I would be a hostile witness. There may be those rare occasions when doubt may cross my mind and I might feel that they do have a case. In this instance, I will may become a witness for them depending on what information they and their legal counsel can provide.
If you have any intention of requesting my services as an expert witness, you need to have as much information as possible for me to determine if I can help you. I will need a step-by-step description of EXACTLY what transpired when the malfunction occurred. I need to know what the defending party said to you and what you said to them. I'll need to know what symbols were on the machine and what the game recalls are. If you can not provide all of this information, I most likely can't help you. There will be an initial pre-consulting fee of $250.00 non-refundable to be paid before I even hear your side of the story. Most likely I will tell you that you don't have a case, and you will be out $250.00. So make sure you do have a solid case before you contact me.
In almost all cases of my providing expert witness testimony, it will be for gaming venues and regulators.