Week promotes taking a responsible approach to gambling

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week Jan. 14 to 20, B.C. Lotteries Corporation

Editor’s note: Following is the first in a three-part series in recognition of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, Jan. 14-20.Morning Star Staff

The B.C. Lotteries Corporation provides a variety of services for customers.

“Every casino has a game sense advisor whose role is to provide education and information to customers. For example, if someone has never played before, the advisor will help them understand odds and how to play the games and  that gambling is for entertainment, not to make money,” said Alexandra Andreucci, regional team leader responsible gambling customer strategy and corporate relations, B.C. Lotteries Corporation.

“The advisors are well-versed in the resources available in the community and if they become aware of any individual who is spending a lot of time and money, or seeming frustrated or upset, they will check in with that person with some suggestions on setting budgets and time limits.”

Advisors will also tell people about the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program, which lets them sign themselves out of casinos for a length of time of their own choice. People are also encouraged to take counseling at this time.

The Game Sense Program has been in place since 2009 as a customer-friendly way to help customers make informed choices about gambling.

“As with any business, we want to make sure our customers are safe and have a good time. About 4.6 per cent of people who get involved in gambling activities can develop a problem. The information is there for them through the advisors, self-serve centres on-site, and at the website, gamesense.ca. When customers are not really enjoying themselves gambling anymore, the resources are there.”

The self-serve centres in casinos feature touch-screen, interactive computers. All casino staff members receive training on how to provide information and education in a positive, non-judgmental way.

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week is a chance to learn about gambling. For example, the concept of random. The numbers in gambling activities are random, that is, each time the odds are exactly the same and several losses do not mean that it is time for a win, or the longer you play “your” machine, the closer you are to winning.

“You are going out for entertainment. Set aside a budget and think of it as any other entertainment — you don’t get it back.

“I think it’s important for the people of Vernon to know that we have a Game Sense centre here. There’s a lot to learn before starting to play and taking time to get that information and education can make the experience a lot more enjoyable.”

For more information see gamesense.ca or bclc.com.