OLG not failing gamblers

Re: OLG’s hollow assurances, Editorial Jan. 7

OLG takes its responsibilities very seriously to assist those individuals who may be playing beyond their limits. In fact, Ontario is the world leader in this regard, allocates more funding — more than $48 million annually — than any other jurisdiction in the world to the treatment, education and awareness of problem gambling.

Self-exclusion is not a policing program and characterizing self-exclusion programs as “catch me if you can” challenges to gaming venues is an approach completely at odds with the opinions and findings of compulsive gambling experts and health care professionals — that shifting responsibility away from the gambler is unproductive and misdirected. People with problems, including gamblers, only get better when they tackle their issues head-on.

Robert Williams’ claim that approximately one-third of OLG’s revenues are generated by problem gamblers is sheer speculation. His “study” is based upon self-reporting by a very small statistically invalid sample of self-identified problem gamblers (42) and makes assumptions as to the number of problem gamblers in the province being almost three times the actual amount. Moreover, it has never been replicated or confirmed and has been found wanting by peer review.

So, no, OLG is not failing problem gamblers.

Bill Rutsey, CEO, Canadian Gaming Association