When gambling stops being a game
Problem gambling is treatable and help is available.
For help in recognizing the warning signs of problem gambling - and to get information
on free programs, services and resources available to assist problem gamblers and their
families - call
What B.C. is doing about problem gambling
The Province of British Columbia is committed to ensuring that gaming in B.C. is conducted
and managed with integrity and that gaming events and products are offered in a socially
Most British Columbians who gamble do so for entertainment and participate responsibly. However,
research shows that a small percentage of players (approximately 4.6 per cent) may develop problems
related to excessive gambling.
In 2003, government established its Responsible Gambling Strategy. This Strategy promotes
responsible gambling and effectively addresses problem gambling. Its main components are
public awareness and education, treatment and prevention, research, training, evaluation
and policy development. As part of this Strategy, the Problem Gambling Program provides free
counselling services to problem gamblers and others who may be affected by problem gambling
behaviour. The 2010/11 budget for the Strategy is $4.5 million.
Responsible Gambling Strategy
The Strategy's goals are to:
- Create public awareness of risks associated with gambling;
- Deliver gambling in a manner that encourages responsible gambling and informed choice; and
- Provide treatment and support to those impacted by problem gambling.
The Problem Gambling Program
The program offers:
- A 24-hour, toll-free Problem Gambling Help Line: 1-888-795-6111;
- Free community-based counselling services through contracted
agencies and qualified counsellors;
- www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca, a web site that provides information
on gambling and problem gambling (including the odds of winning and
myths about normal gambling behaviour);
- Province-wide education and awareness services;
- Brochures, help-line stickers and posters promoting responsible
gambling and the Problem Gambling Program - available at all casinos,
commercial bingo halls and lottery retail outlets;
- Advertising and marketing standards for the gambling industry;
- Research; and
- Education and training in problem gambling issues to more than 600
addiction counsellors and allied professionals throughout the province.
Other related initiatives
- Anyone under the age of 19 is prohibited from participating in
commercial gaming activities;
- The number of casinos and other gaming facilities are limited in the province;
- Casinos, community gaming centres, bingo halls and PlayNow.com are required to provide a free,
voluntary self-exclusion program under which a person may ask to be barred from
such gaming facilities for a specified period; and
- In every casino in British Columbia, a GameSense Advisor is available to provide information
regarding gambling myths, responsible play strategies and the resources available to those experiencing
a gambling problem.
Strategies, studies and reports