Problem gamblers to be targeted by new casino officers
Last Updated: Monday, April 28, 2008 | 11:58 AM PT
The B.C. government is hiring nine so-called "responsible gambling information officers" to educate casino staff and patrons about problem gambling.
The jobs are part of a long-term plan to have the officers in every casino, according to the assistant deputy minister of gaming policy, Derek Sturko.
"We did a pilot program in 2005 at two Lower Mainland casinos and discovered that worked quite well. And this is part of our plan to grow that out to every casino gaming facility," he said.
Early intervention of the gambling information officers may prevent people from becoming problem gamblers, said Sturko, who added a decade of research showed no evidence that problem gambling was increasing in British Columbia.
But NDP gaming policy critic Harry Lali said the creation of the jobs indicates the opposite is actually the case.
"It is a stark admission by this government that Liberal policies are directly creating gambling addicts in this province," said Lali.
"It is the massive expansion of gambling by Gordon Campbell and the Liberals that is creating this problem,"
Since the B.C. Liberals came to power in 2001, revenue from casinos has doubled from $552 million to nearly $1.1 billion.
Private companies operate B.C.'s 20 casinos for the B.C. Lottery Corporation, which manages all legal gambling in B.C. for the provincial government.With files from Karen Tankard
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