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Keep the minors out of gaming lounges!

Thursday, May 29, 2014    

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THE Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) has asked parents and operators of gaming lounges to practise responsible gaming, in order to prevent minors from engaging in the practice.

Responsible gaming refers to a set of practices that enable people to game in a way that is fair and safe, with guidelines that speak to the prevention of underage gaming.

Speaking at a recent JIS 'Think Tank', senior investigator at the BGLC, Maurice Thompson, said that children being sent to purchase bets has been a common practice that contributes to minors becoming exposed to gaming.

"Gaming among minors is becoming a critical problem because we have expanded [the lottery game] from three draws to five within the last 12 months and this creates opportunities for minors to get involved," Thompson said.

The senior investigator explained that while the commission routinely carries out spot checks at the location of dealers, it also relies on the help of the public through reports, to curtail the problem.

A dealer's licence can be revoked if he or she is found to be selling bets to minors.

Meanwhile, the BGLC has partnered with RISE Life Management Services as another way to tackle underage gaming. The partnership includes funding the responsible gaming services of RISE Life that entail prevention, treatment and research.

An important aspect of the partnership is the training of school-based guidance consellors to educate minors on the effects of gambling on their lives.

Programme manager for addiction counselling and support services at RISE Life Management Services, Richard Henry, said that intervention was necessary because once opportunities for gambling are increased, so, too, the number of persons who will need assistance.

Henry pointed out that RISE Life Management targets youth through its annual poster competition called 'Adolescent Youth Gambling Prevention', which ends on May 31.

Children, the elderly and gaming lounge employees have been identified as the most vulnerable groups who are affected by gaming addiction.

-- JIS

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