Powerpoint slides on class 4 exercise

Mystery Shopper
Safer Gambling Venues
Class 4 Sector
December 2014
What we are trying to achieve
• Through our regulatory activity, we minimise harmful and
criminal behaviours and contribute to a safe and prosperous
• We can achieve this by promoting compliance that minimises
harm and maximises benefit.
• We want to proactively minimise and prevent gambling harm.
Why a Mystery Shopper Exercise?
What we knew
What we didn’t know
• The Gambling Act 2003 requires
casino and class 4 operators to
develop and implement policies
for identifying problem gamblers.
• How proactive / effective are staff
at putting their training into
• Staff can play an important role in
minimising gambling harm – host
• There can be a number of
barriers to approaching gamblers.
 Is there a problem – what is the
extent of the problem?
We had no baseline
information, and were
unable to measure the
impact of future initiatives.
The mystery shopper results
allow for retesting.
Department of Internal Affairs
Our Approach / challenges
• This was a research exercise (as opposed to a compliance
• We carried out the exercise across the class 4 and casino
 We didn’t mystery shop clubs – but we are interested in their harm
minimisation practices.
• We used an external provider to ensure independence.
• Ethical considerations were taken into account e.g. creating
problem gamblers, winning jackpots etc.
Department of Internal Affairs
The class 4 Exercise
Class 4 Venues (bars)
• 102 venues = 10% of NZ venues.
• Mix of urban, rural, 18 machine vs. 9 machine etc.
• Shoppers gambled for two hours (generally during the day) and displayed
general problem gambling indicators:
 sighing, head resting on hands, talking to machine, expressing frustration
• Observed sweeping of rooms and other patron behaviours.
• Role-play = cash withdrawal from a staff member:
 “I need to go but I need to win some money back “ (used in 77% of
 “I can’t really afford it but I think I’m getting close to a win” (16%)
 “I’m meant to get home to the kids but a few more minutes won’t hurt”
(used 7%)
Spread of
Other points of note
• We acknowledge that our shoppers were not repeat / known patrons – it
may be easier to approach patrons after observing multiple playing
• We tested specific areas of harm minimisation practice – other areas (such
as the exclusion process) were not tested.
• There may be entries on venue incident logs that show behaviours were at
least noted – these were not checked.
• The results rely on the interpretations of our shoppers. However, the
 Went through a careful selection process – ensuring experienced shoppers
 Were given comprehensive training
 Were given regular debrief sessions as the exercise progressed
• The high number of venues tested strengthens the robustness of the
Class 4 Key findings
• 99% of scripted scenarios delivered by
mystery shoppers did not result in an
intervention from staff:
 However, comments recorded indicate many
scripted scenarios caught the attention of
staff (e.g. the staff member seemed
embarrassed or said something else in
• 100 other patrons1 were observed
displaying possible problem gambling
indicators at 46 of the venues visited
(45% of all venues):
 95% of these patrons did not receive an
intervention from staff
1 - Shoppers were unable to record the
overall number of patrons
Possible interventions:
# Asking if the person is
# Questioning whether
they should withdraw
the money
# Suggesting they take a
# Providing problem
gambling information to
the person
# Suggesting they leave
the venue
# Asking them about
their gambling
Class 4 Key Findings continued
• Recognised best practice for monitoring gambling areas is to
conduct ‘sweeps’ of the area every 15 minutes = six-eight
sweeps for our scenarios:
 This is claimed as a cost in venue cost schedules
• 14 venues achieved the desired result of six-eight sweeps. Ten
had no sweeps.
Floor Sweeps Instances
1 Sweep
2 Sweeps
3 Sweeps
4 Sweeps
5 Sweeps
6 Sweeps
7 Sweeps
8+ Sweeps
No Sweeps
Grand Total
% Sweep Count
Comments indicate that many
sweeps involved staff focussing on
other activities (e.g. re-filling a
What does this indicate?
• There is not an increase in problem gambling, but harm
minimisation practices need to be improved.
• The need to improve harm minimisation practices is a nationwide
issue - not a problem faced by only one or two societies:
 May reflect the difficulty many societies have in operating with a
distributed network
• Class 4 staff may not be adequately trained to carry out their harm
minimisation obligations.
• Class 4 staff may be aware of what they should do, but choose not
to put it into practice due to a number of barriers or conflicting
 We’re not advocating spending additional money – reviewing existing
practices may be more effective
Next Steps
• Media release about the exercise and results issued after
consultation with the sector.
• The Department considers education and support as the best
way to improve the situation at this time.
• The Department may choose to undertake another mystery
shopper exercise as it is an effective tool for determining
actual practice.
• The Department may take enforcement action for future
Working with the sector – class 4
• The sector must own this issue. We encourage the sector to collaborate on
harm minimisation initiatives.
• Continue our review of existing harm minimisation training practices:
 Look for opportunities to make improvements/efficiencies
 address the issues identified in the mystery shopper exercise.
• Develop a venue-based best practice harm minimisation policy.
• Continue to support the Health Promotion Agency in their development of
resource material with venue based messages.
The Department’s expectation is that the
sector will work on strategies for lifting
overall staff performance - and the
Department will work with the sector to
achieve this outcome.

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