Over recent years, many people have been able to enjoy the thrill of casino gaming online, giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in entertainment from their own homes. This year, online casino gambling activity has soared, with huge numbers of people turning to online casinos for entertainment during the lockdown.
One of the most recent places to tap into the increasing popularity of live casino gaming is Alberta, which recently launched its first regulated online gambling site. The site was officially launched by Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC) and this was met with mixed reactions.
Concerns Raised Over the Launch
There is no doubt that there will be many people who are excited about the launch of the online casino in Alberta. However, there have also been those who have raised concerns about the destruction that could be caused as a result of the launch, particularly in the current climate.
Associate Professor in Addictions Counselling at the University of Lethbridge, Bonne Lee, claims that there could be huge negative effects because of the timing of the launch. She said that thousands of people in Alberta were currently having to spend more time at home. This could increase the chances of them becoming reliant and addicted to online entertainment options such as this.
Concerns were also raised by an anonymous recovering gambling addict who said that the site could have a serious negative impact on peoples’ lives. He added that online gambling made it far too easy to lose money, drawing on his own experiences as an example. Like Lee, he said that with people spending more time at home, online gambling in Alberta could become a huge issue in the current climate.
He said, “It’s very destructive. Now it’s going to be 24-hour accessibility on the phone or on the computer for people to gamble, and that’s not a good thing to hear.” He also said that he knew people who had lost up to $10,000 in one day on their credit cards, which meant they were then plunged into huge levels of debt.
One of the additional concerns he raised was that awareness about gambling addiction was far lower than with other types of addictions. The former gambler said that while it was simple to tell if someone was drunk or high on drugs, it was not easy to determine if they were addicted to gambling.
Aiming to be Socially Responsible
In light of the concerns, the ALGC has commented on some of the measures it has put into place in order to ensure safety and responsibility for gamers. Officials from the group said that they want to ensure the same social responsibility presence as brick-and-mortar casinos. According to the group, there are various resources and measures in place to enable them to do this.
According to the ALGC, players can access a variety of tools such as the ability to set daily, weekly, or monthly limits on the amount they can deposit and play. There are also various other tools that can be accessed by users including the Self-Exclusion Program.
Despite the measures that have been put into place, some officials believe that they are minimal and should be improved. A senior researcher at the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, Darren Christensen, said that the website should have made access to these tools easier and clearer. He added that while some of the links were helpful, the most effective measure was enabling users to set limits.
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