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Responsible gambling week offers guidance

Margaret Sigsworth and Peter McDonald quiz a Chilliwack Chances patron on Monday with a true or false question related to gambling, part of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.  - Sam Bates
Margaret Sigsworth and Peter McDonald quiz a Chilliwack Chances patron on Monday with a true or false question related to gambling, part of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.
— image credit: Sam Bates

Gambling is a popular form of entertainment right here in Chilliwack and across B.C.

Locally, Chances Chilliwack caters to approximately 3000 to 4000 patrons per month, so it’s important that visitors balance the fun with the facts.

From Feb. 21 to 27, BCLC, in partnership with the B.C. Responsible Problem Gambling Program (BC RPGP) is hosting Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) in Chilliwack.

For many adults, the casino is their preferred venue for an entertaining night out.

"We want people to come in and have fun each and every time they arrive," said Walt Krahn, Responsible Gambling Team Leader.

RGAW is a community-based program aimed at promoting responsible gambling practices and raising awareness about the resources available to help reduce problem gambling.

The event at Chances Chilliwack on Monday aimed to help casino patrons learn the facts and get tips about setting limits while winning prizes at the Ok to Play? RGAW booth.

"It's easy to lose control in the moment," BC RPGP Prevention Specialist Margaret Sigsworth pointed out. She was at the booth on Monday, testing visitors' knowledge of tips and myths about gambling.

"Some people have no idea how much they're spending. They might think they win more than they actually do, because they're not keeping track of it," she said.

That brought her to Tip #1: Set a budget and stick to it.

One way for casino patrons to follow their limit is to bring a set amount of cash and leave the credit and debit cards at home. While monitoring money spent and won, patrons should also set a time limit in advance and take frequent breaks.

GameSense Advisor Peter McDonald identified Tip #2: Know how the games work, and what the odds are.

That's why all casinos across B.C. are equipped with GameSense Info Centres. Knowledgeable staff like McDonald are trained to answer questions about how the games work, explain concepts like randomness and house advantage, and to provide problem gambling support and referral.

Krahn and Sigsworth stressed the importance of Tip #3: Play for fun, not to make money.

When casino patrons don't follow Tips #1 and #2, they run the risk of moving into a problematic area.

Gambling should not be considered a source of income. If people play beyond their means, they may potentially put their grocery or rent money at risk, causing family or friends to become concerned about their financial stability or their well-being.

"If someone ever needs support, we have counselling for anyone who has a problem or is affected by someone with a problem," Krahn said. Counselling is free, confidential, and available right in the Chilliwack community.

There are many more helpful tips and tools available at gamesense.ca.

Chilliwack is one of six communities across the province hosting a Responsible Gambling Awareness Week from February 14 to April 9.

Locals can also check out the Ok to Play? booth at the Chilliwack Chiefs hockey game on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Visit bclc.com/responsiblegambling to learn more about the program.

 

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