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Experts says casino design doesn’t help addiction
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:34PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2013 4:54PM MDT
If you’ve ever been confused in a casino, that’s by design.
Casinos all over the world are constructed to confound, confuse and convince gamblers to stay.
“That's why all the casinos don't have clocks and why there's mirrors, they confuse the environment so you can't find your way out , says U of L researcher Robert Williams, “the manufacturers believe blue is an important colour.”
The lure of the win can capture people from all walks of life.
In a recent interview about his new memoir, tennis champion Jimmy Connors says he is a recovering addict.
“If I won two games, I had to win three or four. If I won four, I had to win six. So I'd just keep going and going and going until I'd explode,” says Connors.
That’s the thinking of a problem gambler, say experts.
Michelle McGrath is an addictions counsellor at Calgary Counselling Centre and says addicts want to keep playing to replicate the thrill of a win. It’s hard to stop the cycle.
“The first thing is the need and the want to change. Recognizing there is a problem and the need to take that first step,” says McGrath.
In Alberta, 97 percent of gamblers self-report they have no problem quitting when it’s time to stop. However, experts say it’s that initial acknowledgement of the addiction that is the biggest barrier to quitting for most.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission has put what it calls “Responsible Gaming Information Centres” in 18 casinos across Alberta.
“At the centres we provide the information about what the signs are so individuals can make that decision for themselves whether or not they've got something to be concerned about,” says Anne Mohl, with the Responsible Gaming program.
Some experts say Alberta isn’t doing enough to prevent gambling in the first place, particularly as the province relies heavily on the billions of dollars of revenue gambling brings in.
For more information on gaming, visit the Set a Limit Alberta website.