Independent Studies Confirm Voluntary Self-Exclusion Benefits Participants
Provide Opportunities for Further Enhancement
VANCOUVER, Aug. 18, 2011 /CNW/ - Two independent reviews indicate BCLC's Voluntary Self Exclusion (VSE) program is effective and provide recommendations to further strengthen the program.
"The majority of people who gamble do so for entertainment and participate responsibly - but we know that a small percentage are at risk or struggle with gambling problems. We want to ensure that programs designed to assist these individuals are as effective as possible," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Shirley Bond. "BCLC and the Province committed to an independent review of the voluntary self-exclusion program. As we release the reports today, we are encouraged that the research points out the benefits of the program and we also welcome the recommendations and commit to improving the VSE program using this important advice."
In 2007, BCLC contracted the BC Centre for Social Responsibility (BCCSR) to conduct a four year longitudinal evaluation of the effectiveness of the VSE program from the perspective of its participants. Of particular interest, is the fact that 93 per cent would recommend the program to other individuals.
"We talked to a large group of participants and discussed their gambling behaviours before, during, and following their enrolment with the VSE program in four interviews over 24 months. This is not typical of the research that exists around VSE programs," said BCCSR's Dr. Irwin Cohen. "Based on their feedback, we're confident the program is serving as an important resource for people with gambling problems."
In late 2010, BCLC and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch also asked the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) Centre for the Advancement of Best Practices to conduct a review of the VSE program. The RGC work focused on casino-based VSE at facilities in Victoria, Kelowna, New Westminster, Vancouver and Richmond.
"We know from our research that self-exclusion can be a great help to people with gambling problems," said RGC CEO Jon Kelly. "We were impressed that British Columbia took the initiative to do this review. The findings will be useful to gaming providers across Canada and around the world. They are all facing the same challenges and working to find better ways to manage these programs."
The two studies have already provided insight and led to BCLC enhancing its VSE program. Moving forward, BCLC will continue to bolster the tools in place at facilities to help better detect individuals who should not be accessing gambling facilities in BC.
"We are very pleased with the results of these studies and appreciate the insight they will provide our programs. Of particular interest to me is that the VSE participants themselves have such a high rate of satisfaction with the program," said BCLC President Michael Graydon. "The research has already guided enhancements to our program and we remain committed to further improving what has been shown to be a very effective resource for our patrons."
For more information on the VSE program, visit GameSense.ca.
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