For some gambling is all fun and games, but mix the right personality with the wrong information and it can turn disastrous.
To address this issue the B.C. Lottery Corporation will host Responsible
Gambling Awareness Week on the West Shore from Jan. 14 to 18 to help prevent the potential pitfalls of gambling.
The initiative, created by BCLC and the province, is an attempt to help inform people of the risks of gambling and the resources available for those who struggle with gambling addiction.
“The more you know the better equipped you are to make healthy decisions around gambling,” said Caroline Wakefield, senior communications officer for BCLC. “We want to raise that awareness and really connect people to community services and support, should they need it.”
The week will kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 15 with a breakfast launch at 9:30 a.m. at View Royal Casino, featuring speeches and some eats.
Throughout the week the Myth Busting Kiosk will be set up at various locations throughout the West Shore, including grocery stores, malls, senior’s centre and a Victoria Grizzlies game.
BCLC’s intention with the kiosk is to dispel myths about gambling and provide information. For example, a common myth is that there are “hot” and “cold” slot machines, and a slot machine that hasn’t given money for some time is “due for a win.”
Some people will keep playing, and keep losing, waiting for that elusive win.
As the information at the kiosk helps explain, this isn’t true. The results of a slot machine spin are determined completely randomly every spin and there are no patterns or “streaks,” therefore a machine can never be “hot” or “cold.”
“People can learn about randomness or how slot machines work or things like that,” said Westfield. “We try to make it fun and interactive so that it’s interesting to learn this information, and at the same time give people a chance to learn a little bit more ‘behind the scenes’ of how these games work.”
The main event will be an open house on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre. At the event experts in the field of gambling will give talks, starting at 10:30 a.m., and provide responsible gambling tips. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
BCLC hosted the first Gambling Awareness Week last year in Vernon, at the city’s request. This year five communities will host events and Westfield said interest has been expressed in expanding further.
There are a number of resources available regularly for people looking for information on gambling or grappling with a gambling addiction.
BCLC hosts the GameSense.ca website, a responsible gambling information centre that offers a wide variety of resources. The province hosts BCResponsibleGambling.ca, another website with information about gambling and gambling addiction.
At every casino, including the View Royal Casino, there is a Game Sense information centre with information on gambling and advisors available to talk about responsible gambling.
For problem gamblers BCLC has a self-exclusion program, through which people can voluntarily choose to be denied admittance to casinos for a certain amount of time.
“(These resources) really are part of our commitment towards responsible gambling so we like to make them available,” Wakefield said. “We continue to support them to ensure that people have the access they need to all these resources and any support, if they need it.”