There is no provincially funded rehabilitation centre for gambling addicts in Winnipeg, posing a challenge for some trying to get help.
"Amanda," a former compulsive gambler from Winnipeg, told CBC News that having a publicly funded residential rehabilitation centre in the capital city would have significantly helped in her recovery.
The only public rehab centre in Manitoba for gambling addicts is in Brandon, as part of a program operated by the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).
That's the case even though the AFM's own tracking has found that in most years, roughly 80 per cent of gamblers calling its help line live in Winnipeg.
Amanda said the public rehab centre in Brandon was too far away for her, and she could not afford private treatment facilities in Winnipeg.
"It costs money. A lot of people don't have that kind of money," she said.
Tracie Afifi, an addictions researcher at the University of Manitoba, agrees that there should be a public rehabilitation centre for gambling addicts in Winnipeg.
"I think it would be really helpful to have treatment more accessible," she said.
The AFM offers a 14-day residential program for problem gamblers at the Parkwood Treatment Centre in Brandon.
The program has beds for half a dozen people and counselling specifically aimed at helping gamblers deal with their addictions.
Dave Grift, supervisor of the AFM's gambling unit, says the foundation can help cover bus transportation costs to Brandon so people can take part in the program, if cost is an issue.
"You got to remember, it's provincial in focus, right? So yeah, the largest part of the population is in Winnipeg, but we're not seeing that necessarily as a barrier for people to access programming," Grift said.
Grift said the facility does not have a waiting list and people are using the program, and he was not aware of its location being an issue.
He added that the AFM cannot track people who do not take the foundation up on its rehabilitation services.