Police in Leeds, Ontario, has probably been contacted numerous times about silly or even absurd situations but the latest 911 call was the first of its kind. A woman called the emergency line after gambling and losing all her money at the Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands. According to the police, she needed help getting home.
The unusual call was received by the provincial police in Leeds and the Thousand Islands Township over the weekend. An unnamed 21-year-old woman from Quebec called 911 around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning. She was gambling at the small casino in Gananoque, a town in the Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario, Canada, and apparently lost all her money. The reason why she was calling was that she had no way of getting home and needed a ride.
The police must have been astounded by the request and unsurprisingly, did not respond as quickly as they would in a real emergency. Before they arrived at the Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, she called back and said that she no longer needed their help because someone gave her $20. Casino security later told the police that the young casino patron was safe and did not need assistance. According to Const. Sandra Barr, this is the first time Leeds County Ontario Provincial Police receives a call of this kind from a casino.
In a statement, Inspector Mike Francis reported about the strange incident and reminded that people should call 911 only in emergencies when their safety is at risk. This includes fires, crimes in progress, or medical emergencies, Francis explains. Gambling losses and no money to get home should not be considered emergency situations.
Other Strange Gambling-Related Stories in 2018
While this woman apparently thought that losing money while gambling is an emergency, another gambling-related headline caused controversy recently. In March, a British Columbia man filed a lawsuit against the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) for failing to prevent him from gambling away CA$550,000 in disability payments. According to the plaintiff, Tyler Hatch, he was enrolled in a self-exclusion program, the BCLC program for problem gamblers which should have restricted his access to land-based casinos and online gambling platforms.
However, the BCLC could not identify him as a compulsive gambler and did not do anything to stop him from playing at the PlayNow website. The lawsuit claims that Hatch was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder in 2010 and he started receiving disability benefits. Due to his gambling problem, he had incurred a “significant” gambling debt and decided to get his benefits as a lump sum totalling $550,000 in January 2016. However, by the end of the year, he had lost the entire sum on gambling and had a consumer credit debt of around $50,000.
While the lawsuit sparked heated debates about who should take the responsibility, Hatch explained that he was prescribed a medication called Abilify for his condition. The drug, according to him, caused compulsive behaviour, including compulsive gambling.