Featured Article

Welcome to the PGIO Newsletter

By Robert Murray, Manager, Problem Gambling Project

The launch of the quarterly PGIO Newsletter comes at a time when Ontario is about to see a significant reconfiguration and expansion of the gambling industry.

Faced with a large deficit, the government is turning to gambling as a way of generating additional revenue – as it has in the past.

Last spring, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced its plan to “modernize” the way gambling is delivered.

In their words, the plan includes three major goals:

  1. Become more customer-focused;
  2. Expand regulated private sector delivery of lotteries and gaming, and;
  3. Renew OLG’s role in oversight of lotteries and gaming.

The major goals of this massive transformation of the gambling industry are to: attract private sector capital investment in gambling technology and infrastructure, increase revenue by $1.3B, increase participation rates from 70% to 75% and decrease the average player age from 55 (in 2011) to 53 by 2017.

In practical terms, what will this mean?
  • The OLG has designated 29 potential "gaming zones" where private sector gambling companies will be allowed to offer a single gaming facility that can include both slot machines and table games (decisions about available gambling options will be "market driven").
  • Lottery tickets will be sold in multi-lane retail outlets like supermarkets and big box stores. In other words, you will be able to purchase tickets where you pay for other items.
  • The introduction of new technologies including: reusable tickets that store the individual’s preferred numbers (using Radio Frequency Identification cards), the use of mobile phones as a platform for gambling, and new and more sophisticated types of slot machines, etc.

Prior to the launch of this plan, the OLG had already announced their intention to launch an iGaming site in 2013 and to install automated gambling machines in many bingo halls in the province.

Without question, this will increase the incidence of gambling problems and associated negative impacts, including harm to families and the community.

The OLG plan means that, more than ever, Ontario needs an accessible, skilled, comprehensive and well-resourced problem gambling (PG) treatment system.

The province also needs a wide range of other systems capable of identifying, supporting and referring people with gambling problems to appropriate services when necessary. This includes financial counsellors, primary health care workers, and professionals working within the criminal justice system, to name a few.

This newsletter has been designed to support Ontario’s specialized PG treatment system and allied professionals by sharing information about the work that is being done across the province, putting a spotlight on emerging developments, and informing you of resources and training offered by the PGIO.

By collaborating on innovative ideas, sharing knowledge and disseminating best practices, we can build an even stronger and more integrated PG treatment system in Ontario. We invite you to use this newsletter to communicate with Ontario’s specialized PG treatment system and allied professionals by:

  • Writing a guest article for the PGIO Newsletter (email us)
  • Nominating your organization to be featured in the regular “Agency Spotlight” section (email us)
  • Letting us know about courses or events you are organizing for PG treatment professionals (email us)
  • Liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter

Thanks for reading. We hope you find this and future editions of the PGIO Newsletter helpful.

Agency Spotlight

Chinese Family Services of Ontario

The staff of Chinese Family Services of Ontario.

(Photo courtesy of CFSO)

By Colleen Tessier, Senior Project Coordinator, Problem Gambling Project

Chinese Family Services of Ontario (CFSO) was incorporated in 1988 as a charitable and accredited professional family and settlement service agency, with a focus on Chinese Canadians.

CFSO is staffed by a team focused on social work and counselling psychology. The agency provides services in English and six Chinese dialects – Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fujianese, Chaozhounese and Taiwanese.

What type of services does CFSO provide?

CFSO provides services in a broad range of programs including:

  • individual/couple/family counselling
  • settlement
  • violence against women
  • partner assault response
  • counselling services for probationers and offenders
  • problem gamblers and their families
  • drugs and alcohol
  • youth services
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues
  • group counselling
  • family life education
  • consultation and liaison
  • employee assistance programs
  • internship/field practicum

Why was CFSO created?

CFSO’s roots began with a group of social workers who started the Chinese Family Life Service Project to provide free counselling services to Chinese Canadians in 1988 in response to incidents of suicide in the community.

At that time, there were no counselling services for the Chinese community in their native language. The Chinese Family Life Service Project was created to meet this need. The community advocated for government funds and held fundraisers to expand the project's services.

In 1991, CFSO received their first funding from the province and United Way Toronto to start their family services. They are now funded by three levels of government, United Way Toronto and York Region and through community donations.

Where is CFSO located?

CFSO's main office is located in Scarborough at 3330 Midland Avenue. It also has satellite offices in Richmond Hill and downtown Toronto.

How have CFSO and PGIO worked together to address the problem gambling treatment needs of the Chinese Canadian community?

The Ontario Resource Group on Gambling, Ethnicity and Culture (ORGGEC (login required)) was created in 2001 to support the work of PGIO in increasing access to multilingual problem gambling services in Ontario. The CFSO is a member of the ORGGEC.

As members of ORGGEC, CFSO and PGIO have worked together to increase the capacity of CFSO to provide problem gambling treatment services to the Chinese population in Ontario.

More recently, the PGIO launched a suite of online self-help tools on the ProblemGambling.ca website, where visitors can explore their gambling, and family members and friends of those who gamble can find resources and information. The PGIO is working with CFSO to translate and adapt these tools into traditional and simplified Chinese.

(This article has been updated to correct previous information.)

Useful Info & Resources on ProblemGambling.ca

  • Save the date to join us on June 10 and 11 for the 2013 Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario Forum at the Delta Chelsea in Toronto. The forum is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and is an excellent opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and share knowledge with leaders in Ontario’s problem gambling treatment community. 2013 will mark the fifth year for the forum, and we hope that you can join us in June. Visit the PGIO Forum page (login required) for further updates.

    This year's keynote speaker is Natasha Dow Schüll, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor at MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Her new book, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton University Press, 2012), draws on extended research among compulsive gamblers and the designers of the slot machines they play to explore the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction.
  • The new PGIO Policy Development page contains links to policy documents on problem gambling produced by the PGIO and CAMH.
  • The Self-Help Gambling Tools website now features an introductory video. Watch it on the landing page by clicking the video icon to find out more about our full suite of tools.
  • The Journal of Gambling Issues (JGI) released its latest issue recently. As always, the JGI is available online free for viewing and download. This is the JGI’s first issue that features editorials, reviews, and research articles in both English and French. View the newest issue here.
  • The Monitor Your Gambling and Urges (MYGU) mobile app has been released for BlackBerry and Android platforms.

In the News

Research Updates

Please visit the PGIO's Research page for more information.

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