BCLC’S Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program from the Perspectives and Experiences of Program Participants

Gambling is a common pastime for British Columbians, with 73% of adults in 2014 reporting past year gambling (R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd, 2014). Unfortunately, for approximately 3% of this population, gambling becomes more than just a pastime and problem symptoms can begin to emerge, such as difficulties in limiting the amount or time spent on gambling (Gainsbury, 2014). One avenue of support for gamblers developing problematic relationships with gaming is the self exclusion program operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The Voluntary Self-Exclusion program assists those who desire to take a “time-out” from gambling by providing opportunities to self-exclude from British Columbian casinos and bingo halls, as well as the online PlayNow site, for periods ranging from six months to three years. The program is free of cost and provides opportunities to connect those who desire additional supports with free problem gambling counselling. Upon entering into a self-exclusion agreement with BCLC, the gambler agrees not to attempt to enter any casinos, bingo halls, or horse racing facilities where slots are present for the agreed upon period of time. In turn, BCLC agrees to remove the gamblers name and address from their mailing list, remove their Encore Rewards Card, prevent them from gambling at the official PlayNow.com site, and attempt to detect and prevent them from entering gaming floors in British Columbia.

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