Canadian Casinos Implement Unique Self Exclusion Program

An interesting solution to curtail problem gambling has been adopted by The Regina Casino and Moose Jaw Casino in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. Both these casinos claim to be strong at implementing self-exclusion policies. A certain section of problem gamblers will be unable to withdraw any winnings they may have secured wagering at these casinos. This applies only to the 545 casino goers who voluntarily signed their own personal self-exclusion order. This policy has been initiated by the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SCG), which is owned by the by the provincial Government of Saskatchewan. It is referred to as the "Disentitlement Policy," and it allows SCG to withhold prizes, cash and credits from the players who have given their consent. SCG manager of responsible gaming, Laurie Norman, said that the objective was to remove the main reason why many problem gamblers gamble in the first place.

Saskatchewan is not the first Canadian province to implement this type of policy. British Columbia had tried to implement a similar policy in 2009. However, the province found itself in a legal mess as a result. Saskatchewan has taken care to amend those gaming regulations that had created a problem in British Columbia. Norman told reporters that in Saskatchewan, it was the problem gamblers that asked for a more stringent policy. The existing programs were nominal without any real enforcement ability. The problem gamblers wanted a self-exclusion program that had the powers to walk the talk.

The sector most happy with the turn of events is the Gambling Awareness Program, which is run through the Canadian Mental Health Association. Director Shauna Altrogge applauded the industry on their new policy. But she added that this most not lead to a slack in vigilance for preventing those who have already taken steps to self-exclude from the casino premises in the first instance. She agreed with Norman that this policy will be a disincentive for problem gamblers to further try and gamble. In 2010-2011, 166 people from The Regina sought out problem gambling advice. Last year that number dropped significantly and was down to 108. The similar figures for Moose Jaw were from 15 down to 0. Laurie Norman said the effectiveness of these policies at the two casinos will be known over time. She added, "The ideal situation would be that we never have to implement this, because everybody (with a self-exclusion order) just stays out."

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