Gambling advisors coming to casinos

Kamloops This Week

B.C.’s NDP government is betting an investment into at-risk gamblers will pay off for the entire province.

The province’s gaming policy and enforcement branch is slated to offer off-site services and the BCLC is planning to expand its GameSense advisor program, which puts employees focused on responsible gambling on casino floors.

“Our government is committed to improving mental-health services for everyone,” Attorney General David Eby said in a press release.

“We must address the long-neglected and underfunded addiction risks associated with gambling. These changes ensure prevention and support services will be more readily available for those who need them most — not just in casinos, but everywhere in the province.”

The BCLC is assuming responsibility and cost for the GameSense program and is planning to hire advisors for each of B.C.’s 18 casinos.

The gaming policy and enforcement branch will keep the $1.2 million that had been budgeted for the program and use it to expand off-site services, including early intervention, counselling and harm reduction.

“Addiction is a complex health condition that comes in many forms and affects people from all walks of life,” said Judy Darcy, B.C.’s health minister.

“Like other addictions, a person struggling with a gambling addiction needs to know there is hope and help. Expanding prevention and awareness programs for gamblers, while also enhancing counselling and clinical options, is an important step in allowing people to get access to that help they need.”

The BCLC hopes to have advisors in place in each casino, including the two in Kamloops, within 30 months.

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