Odds favour more help for gamblers

Problem gamblers in Alberta who have signed up for voluntary bans will be subject to fines of up to $250 if they’re found inside gaming establishments, starting Nov. 1.

CALGARY — Problem gamblers in Alberta who have signed up for voluntary bans will be subject to fines of up to $250 if they’re found inside gaming establishments, starting Nov. 1.

Lynn Hutchings Mah of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission says the group “felt there was a need for a consequence to help individuals from violating their self-exclusion agreements.”

At any given time, 1,500 to 1,600 Albertans are signed up with the voluntary gambling ban, which makes their photos available to casino security or responsible gaming monitors.

The commission is also in the process of scheduling mandatory, three-hour anti-gaming classes for the volunteers.

Gaming regulators are also looking at the possibility of forcing all casino-goers to produce photo identification cards to weed out problem gamblers.

Hutchings-Mah says other options might include casino spending limit cards.

“We’re looking at technologies with the goal of enhancing responsible gambling initiatives,” said Hutchings-Mah.

“The province is researching best practices from around the world . . . there’s a lot we need to look at before we make a decision.”

University of Calgary gaming researchers say five per cent of Alberta adults are problem gamblers — up to two per cent have severe addictions.

Provincial officials say the numbers are smaller, with 3.8 per cent at high to moderate risk of problem gambling.

“There’s actually been a slight decline in problem gambling risk,” said Hutchings-Mah.

U of C gambling researcher Dr. David Hodgins said no magic bullet exists in taming gambling addictions but lauded the efforts to reduce them.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm around the card systems — they encourage people to figure out how much they’re willing to gamble,” said Hodgins, a clinical psychologist.

“People are mesmerized by the whole experience and lose track of time and money.”

But he said the real proof of success in such campaigns are shrinking gambling revenues collected by the province — something’s that’s rarely been seen in Alberta in recent years.

“The trick is to monitor these things —you don’t want to do it just as window-dressing,” he said.

Just Posted

Whispering Pines raises $40,000 for STARS

The golf and country resort held its fifth annual STARS Charity Golf Tournament this past weekend

Man dies in vehicle rollover west of Red Deer

Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate

UPDATED: Lee seeks UCP nomination in Red Deer

Eyes Red Deer-North constituency

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Red Deer city council considers new business licence bylaw

All businesses operating in the City of Red Deer will require a… Continue reading

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Scheer going to India to ‘repair’ relationship after ‘disastrous’ Trudeau trip

OTTAWA — Six months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy prowess… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month