Responsible gambling was a topic of interest at Prince Edward County council Thursday afternoon.
A day after Shorelines Casino Belleville’s grand opening Andy LaCroix, Executive Director Shorelines Casinos made a deputation to County council on the new $41 million facility. He beamed how opening night was a great success.
“We have 540 parking spots and we found out last night that is not enough,” Lacroix chuckled. “In two hours we had 1,500 people through.”
Mayor Robert Quaiff who was in attendance for Wednesday’s opening commended casino staff on the facility and the hiring of many County residents.
Nearing the end of his presentation LaCroix admitted he left the responsible gambling portion for the end because of its importance and the casino’s dedication to it.
The new casino comes equipped with an innovative and interactive PlaySmart Centre – the first of its kind in Canada to help with problem gambling. It is operated by the Responsible Gambling Council, an independent, non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention and awareness of responsible gambling.
LaCroix said national statistics show 2.5 percent of Canadians are at risk of problem gambling. The most vulnerable are those living in poverty, seniors, new Canadians and young people suffering from substance abuse.
Councillor Bill Roberts referred to statistics showing 5 percent of people living in Toronto, Peterborough and Hamilton suffer from gambling issues. He pointed to there being a disproportionate percentage of those vulnerable groups in the Quinte area. He asked LaCroix what the casino is doing other than having a ‘number to call and a booth’ for people needing help.
LaCroix said there is no magic formula and one person suffering from gambling issues is one too many.
He said they are committed to educating staff and the public the best they can to recognize and address problems immediately.
Responsible gaming staff is on-site Monday through Thursday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m and Friday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. They can be contacted by phone at 1-866-463-3808 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org