The resumption of casino operations across Canada has spurred the Canadian Centre on Substance and Addiction (CCSA) into action. The organisation’s new awareness guideline document seeks to ensure that citizens are fully aware of the potential pitfalls of gambling.
The scope of the publication goes beyond just gambling addiction. It also includes additional recommendations for gambling enthusiasts regarding how to tackle games of chance. The new document emphasises, principally, that a gambler should at no time wager over 1% of their monthly income.
Further recommendations include not gambling on more than 4 days in a given month and that players limit their focus to 2 or fewer different games.
Certified counsellor, Chelsea Rodrigues, had some feedback to offer regarding the guidelines.
She stated that problem gambling presents a continual and ubiquitous threat that affects individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of their education, social status, gender or religion.
She pointed out that the reopening of casinos could put those currently suffering from problem gambling issues at renewed risk. Far from suggesting that those afflicted by gambling addiction avoid casinos, Rodrigues recommended that these particular individuals should be extremely cautious when wading back into the world of games of chance and only dedicate as much time to it as they would for a moderate hobby.
Dr Mathew Yong, a member of the guideline development team, agreed with this position, adding that careful monitoring of participation is preferable to an abrupt stoppage.
Taming the Menace
Dr Yong emphasised that the most important component of combatting addictive behaviour is to create a minimum risk environment. He explained that the most damage done by addiction is its monopoly over an addict’s existence, causing them to stray from friends and family. He wrapped up by saying that active support for addicts, provided by those around them, drastically reduces their risk level.
Rodrigues concluded by saying that face to face treatment for addictive behaviour is available through the CCSA. She guaranteed reasonable wait times, and that a residential program is accessible with interested parties required to complete an application.