Gaming association launches addiction prevention and treatment programme

Bahamas Gaming Operators Association President, Gershon Major.

The Bahamas Gaming Operators Association (BGOA) launched its responsible gaming and addiction prevention program Wednesday.

While licensed web shops already have responsible gaming programs in place, the association has an obligation to enhance educational efforts about the importance of responsible gaming, and must also provide an easy avenue for gambling addicts to receive the help they need to rebound.

“The association recognizes that as a collective representation of the domestic gaming industry, it has an obligation as part of its overall mandate to promote awareness, education and advocate on behalf of its stakeholders. Primary amongst that stakeholder grouping is our customers,” said Gershon Major, BGOA President.

“Therefore, protecting and empowering them to make responsible decisions about how they game, is of paramount importance,” he said.

The association, he said, will provide webs shops with educational material which outlines the signs associated with addiction and the necessary processes to seek help.

“Today marks a red-letter day, as the start of the association’s formal public relations and messaging campaign, to ensure we promote greater awareness, education and advocacy,” said Major.

“We are standardizing public signage across all islands, where the industry has presence, standardizing in-gaming location signage across all licenses. Hosting town meetings and educational seminars, highlighting our responsible gaming and prevention programs.”

The association, he said, is also putting its money where its mouth is.

On Wednesday, the BGOA donated $30, 000 to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) for extensive staff training.

“This funding will fully cover the cost of enabling these professionals from SRC to be further trained and upskilled in dealing with addiction, particularly in the form of gaming/waging and betting,” shared Major.

The SRC specialists will attend several training workshops and seminars in the United States (US) between July & October.

Well known clinical psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Barrett said he is optimistic about the program’s future.

“If what I see presented actually works the way it is supposed to work, there should be a significant reduction in the casualties and the effects within families and society,” he said.