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British Columbia Lottery Corporation Doubles Down on Canadian Safer GamblingBy Shane Addinall Feb 02, 2023 IndustryJoin us to learn more about the incredible updates made to the BCLCs Game Break program to ensure safer gambling in Canada.
According to a study released in 2022 by Statistics Canada, nearly 65% of all Canadians have gambled in the past twelve months. Of those who have done so, 1.6% (304,400 players) met the criteria for being labelled as presenting a “moderate-to-severe risk” of developing gambling-related problems.
While 1.6% is considered an incredibly low percentage compared to all other regulated jurisdictions, most hover around 2%-3%, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is taking action to drive it down even further.
Good Enough is Not Good Enough
The focus points of the BCLCs enhanced program are to encourage players to take breaks in their gaming sessions and, where necessary, to admit that they need help without feeling judged.
The focus is now on creating space to allow players to reflect on their budgets, play time allotments, and other self-determined limits, which is reflected in the program’s new name: Game Break.
Ryan McCarthy, Director of Player Health at BCLC, said:Quote
“Taking a break from something is often seen as a positive choice. We’ve designed the Game Break program to reduce barriers and destigmatise self-exclusion while also including a reinstatement process to help participants better understand their own gambling behaviours if they wish to return to play.”
Those at the helm of the BCLC believe that players are aware of the actions they need to take but need to feel that doing so will be met with compassion and dignity. In particular, McCarthy noted that the new, more inclusive face of the BCLC will “induce a sense of empowerment among bettors who consider taking a break from gambling”.
What Does Game Break Offer?
The core enrolment terms of the program remain the same. Players looking to voluntarily take a break from online gambling and other forms of betting can choose one of the following self-exclusion options: 6 months, 2 months, 24 months or 36 months.
In addition to selecting the self-exclusion period, players can also choose which products to be excluded from. The options include:
- All gambling facilities with slot machines, including casinos, community gaming centres, and the gaming floor of racetracks with slot machines.
- All commercial bingo halls, community gaming centres and any gaming facility offering bingo.
- Any online gambling.
As an additional safeguard, any participating gambling venues will not award a player their winnings in the Game Break program should they find a way to circumvent the system and play while under self-exclusion.
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