New VLTs aimed at deterring addicts
Redesigned betting terminals have time limits, but also have higher top prize
VLTs across Alberta are being replaced with new machines designed to curb gambling addiction.
The new video lottery terminals will not accept more than $100 at a time, have time limits that force users to get up and cash out, and do not allow players to stop a spin early to see the outcome sooner.
The province is trying to balance entertainment with deterring problem gamblers, said Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission spokeswoman Michelle Hynes-Dawson.
"To try to meet the demand of the players and the expectations of the players, but also do it in a very responsible way so we're not contributing and we're certainly preventing any gaming-related harm," she said.
University of Calgary addictions researcher David Hodgins said the new VLTs are a step in the right direction.
"Any mechanism that will interrupt play is potentially positive. So we know that some people get really mesmerized by their experience," he said.
Not all the new features are meant to deter gamblers — the maximum prize has more than doubled to $2,500.
The new machines are already in some Calgary venues. All of the old machines will be switched out by the summer.