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Recovering Bettor Criticizes Ontario for Late Protection Attempts

Noah Vineberg, who completed Ontario’s sole residential treatment program for problem gambling has recently criticized the province for its late attempts to mitigate gaming addictions. Just recently, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario banned the use of athletes in iGaming ads, but Mr. Vineberg says those efforts arrive too late.

Five years ago, Mr. Vineberg graduated from the Residential Treatment Program at Windsor’s Centre for Problem Gambling and Digital Dependency and now he serves as a guest speaker for the very same program. There he shares experiences to try and help others facing such gambling-related issues. However, he is skeptical about the recent ad changes in the province.

Kids are Affected Too

In a recent interview, he shared that the biggest surprise for him was to see some clients enrolling in the program being around the age of his son. He noted that there are children out there, aged 14 to 15, who play on apps such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and more. They use either their parents’ accounts or have someone else help them in creating their own and playing fantasy sports.

Diana Gabriele, a certified counsellor at the CPGDD at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, remarked gaming ads are quite problematic for most people as in recent years they have become quite common in sports broadcasts. She claimed the ban on sports stars is a good first step, as prior to the past six months or so, she has seen this proliferation of gaming ads in her life.

However, Vineberg argues that the changes have come too late. He believes the update in gaming ads would have made an impact if the province had listened to all the advice of other countries and everything going into it had not been allowed. The recovering gambling addict also noted that the province should not wait to enact the new rules until February 28, 2024.

Windsor’s Centre for Problem Gambling and Digital Dependency staff revealed that the number of people looking for help has doubled since the start of the unprecedented situation. The organization accepts clients to stay 24/7 for three weeks in a row and Ms. Gabriele is the only centre in Ontario to offer weeks of overnight stays to aid clients in battling addictions.

She also provided some advice on people struggling with iGaming addiction. She urged them to text a loved one whenever they have the need to indulge in internet gambling. This way their close one will be able to distract them from the need. There is also the possibility of contacting the centre at 519-254-2112 which can provide professional help and guidance.

Studying Impact on People

This month, LegalBet Canada reported that it has launched an inquiry into the impact of gambling ads in the country and what effects they may have on different demographics. According to a poll from Ipsos, almost half of Canadians or 48% believe the volume of betting ads is out of hand and that regulators need to put them in check.

Source: Maru, Sanjay “Recovering problem gambler says province’s efforts to curb addiction ‘too little, too late’CTV News, September 12, 2023