A Device to Prevent Problem GamblingBy: Joan Peppin, Thursday March 4th 2010
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The one major concern that is an impediment in the legalization of online gambling is problem gambling. Many legislators are still unwilling to openly support online gambling because of the fear that this may lead to addictive behavior and increase in the number of persons who have to face financial and social crises because of their gambling. In this scenario any process or device that can curb problem gambling behavior is more than welcome. It appears that a device marketed by Techlink Entertainment called Gameplan is just what the doctor ordered.
Gameplan came to the limelight when the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation (NSGC) selected it to empower players to gamble responsibly on the video lottery terminals (VLTs) authorized by it. Video lottery terminals are a popular medium for gambling and generate significant revenues for the jurisdictions that sanction these terminals. It has also become the responsibility of these jurisdictions to ensure that compulsive gambling problems are not created as a result.
All the VLTs that are participating in this program have to first install the software related to Gameplan. Then the plug and play device is inserted into whichever terminal the player is wagering on. The device tracks the wagers and the results and on a continuous basis it keeps the player aware of his gambling pattern. Therefore the players get a forced reality check. The device also informs the players as to the options available to them based on the money-management criteria that the players have previously entered into the device. For example players can program the device to limit the losses during a given session. Once the player loses that amount the device will lock him out from all the participating VLTs. Similarly the player can set a time limit of the wagering session or even ask to be prevented from playing on a particular day and the Gameplan device will do the rest. The player can set the self exclusion period from one day to three days.
John Xidos, President and CEO of Techlink Entertainment, described the background development of Gameplan. He pointed out that Gameplan was the only solution available today that has been backed through extensive field-testing and research. He said, "Three independent research firms, two Canadian and one from Las Vegas, agreed that our product has a positive impact on gambling behavior. Providing players with the right information and tools is critical in helping them gamble responsibly." Xidos also said that the players who participated in the tests were also appreciative of the product.
So far Gameplan has been designed to operate on electronic land based machines. However the Internet Gaming Study Committee is examining the product for its effectiveness at online casinos. There could come a time when all online players would have to insert a similar plug and play device in their systems before the online casinos allow them to wager.
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