Michael Verhoef, the new GameSense advisor at Chances Chilliwack, chats with dignitaries during the launch of BCLC’s new resource on Thursday. Chances Chilliwack is the first Community gaming centre to have a GameSense advisor plus information booth. The program is dedicated to supporting players with healthy-play habits, and referring those experiencing challenges with their gambling to the support resources they need. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chances Chilliwack offers more help to gamblers in need

BCLC’s responsible gambling program, GameSense, now at more locations and in cozier environments

People needing help with their gambling will now have an easier way to access resources thanks to an enhanced BCLC program offered at Chances Chilliwack.

Launched in 2009, BCLC’s GameSense is a program focused on responsible gambling. Now, it’s been revamped and Chilliwack is the first gaming centre in B.C. to take advantage of it.

Officials were at Chances Chilliwack on Thursday to make the announcement.

Previously, only GameSense advisors were in place at B.C. casinos, but by the fall of 2019, advisors will be in every gambling facility across B.C.

In addition to the expanded GameSense advisor presence, BCLC has also invested in new GameSense information centres, which are welcoming spaces that encourage players to visit and learn more about how games work, talk with a GameSense advisor or just take a break.

Chances Chilliwack is the first community gaming centre in B.C. to have both a GameSense advisor plus a GameSense information centre. Michael Verhoef is the advisor in Chilliwack and will be manning the info booth at Chances.

“It is truly rewarding to be interacting with customers every day, sharing information on how the games work or how to stick to a budget, and encouraging players to adopt healthy behaviours and attitudes towards gambling,” said Verhoef.

He’ll be on hand to chat one-on-one with gamblers. He’s trained to answer questions like the odds of winning and losing, and myths about gambling.

GameSense is a responsible gambling program designed to encourage players to adopt behaviours and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling addictions. It includes setting time and money limits, as well as being open and honest with friends and family about personal gambling habits.

READ MORE: Responsible gambling week offers guidance

READ MORE: Chances Chilliwack opened six years ago

BCLC wants to continue to remind players that gambling is a form of entertainment, not a way to pay off your mortgage or a retirement plan, says Sarah Morris, BCLC media relations.

“I am proud of our efforts to invest in and enhance player health supports here in Chilliwack,” said Jamie Wiebe, BCLC director of player health. “Research shows that on-site advisors are a valuable resource in the promotion of responsible play and reduction of gambling-related harms.”

The GameSense program has proven to be extremely effective in promoting responsible gambling and positive play behaviours. Currently, the advisors have approximately 55,000 interactions with customers at B.C. casinos each year.

Though not manned 24/7, the GameSense info centre at Chances Chilliwack will always be open and have resource information.

Verhoef will be there working peak hours Wednesdays to Sundays. His hours are posted publicly at the booth, alongside his work cellphone number, for those in need of help.

“I look forward to building strong relationships with players and staff here at Chances,” says Verhoef.


 

@PhotoJennalism
jenna.hauck@theprogress.com

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