BCLC Launches PlayPlanner for Responsible Gambling

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is always looking for new ways to incorporate responsible gambling tools into its repertoire. PlayPlanner is the latest method. And it is linked with every player’s Encore Rewards card.

PlayPlanner Launch

As a part of its ongoing commitment to responsible gambling and to its customers, BCLC introduced PlayPlanner this month.

PlayPlanner is a budgeting tool available to all Encore Rewards members. It is an app that enables players to voluntarily enroll and set time or money limits for their gambling. They can choose to receive on-screen notifications as they progress and near their preset limits.

Players can also track their play by day or session by customizing their personal settings.

The goal is simple, according to Dr. Jamie Wiebe, BCLC Director of Player Health. “We’ve created PlayPlanner to make it easier for players to stay within personal limits by making decisions about time and money before gambling. We are committed to ensuring that this tool meets the needs of our players now and into the future as part of our focus on supporting healthy play.”

Players can use PlayPlanner for online gaming, whether playing slots or internet table games. And the limits for deposits range from $1 to $9,999.

Responsible Gambling Rollout in Casinos

PlayPlanner may be an online tool, but the official rollout is taking place at all British Columbia casinos and community gaming centers.

The only requirement is that players obtain free membership in Encore Rewards. The program is available for any player of legal age. They accumulate points for all money wagered on dining, slots, online games. Win or lose, the points continue to add up and translate into free play.

Access to the app is available at the online Encore Rewards site. Players can also ask questions or obtain help with PlayPlanner at any gaming center’s guest services or player club desks.

Part of a Larger Responsible Gambling Plan

If it seems like the BCLC just released other news about responsible gambling, that is true. Just last month, BCLC appointed a new GameSense advisor to Chances Casino Signal Point in Williams Lake.

The new advisor, Troy Nicholson, was given an office at Chances Signal Point so as to meet with players and be available to talk or provide information as needed. Players can even use Nicholson’s office to simply take a break from the gaming floor.

That GameSense advisor appointment is a part of a larger plan to bring GameSense to every gambling establishment in British Columbia by the end of the year. The original goal was the fall of 2019, but the rollout is taking a bit longer than expected.

The advisor program has proven successful in the past several years. The 2018 numbers showed approximately 55,000 interactions between advisors and players at BC casinos, which was up significantly from 40,00 interactions in 2017. With more personnel in place and more resources dispatched, the 2019 numbers should increase as well.

GameSense Makes Sense

The ultimate purpose of the BCLC’s responsible gambling program is to show that gambling can be a fun form of entertainment without becoming a problem. But if it does become a problem, BCLC has tools to help and resources to offer.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation first launched GameSense in 2009. It was one of the most forward-thinking responsible gambling programs in Canada, and the numbers showed its popularity.

As word spread about the program, other Canadian lottery and gaming regulators adopted GameSense in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. It even made its way across the border and into the United States, as the Massachusetts and Connecticut regulators borrowed the idea. And on a much larger scale, MGM Resorts International adopted GameSense as well.

GameSense operates via a multi-pronged approach.

  1. Know the Game

When players know the facts about the games and how they work, it is more likely that they will play smarter and use them more for entertainment purposes.

GameSense offers tutorials online and at gaming centers to show how all games work. From the lottery to sports betting, and table games to slots, players should not only know how the games are made but the odds and the casino advantages.

  1. Play Better

This concept explains the ins and outs of gambling. It goes more deeply into the house edge and the randomness of slot machines and other games. Odds and probabilities are explained, as well as the role of skill versus chance in a variety of games.

With this initiative, players also learn how to manage their play and even use a complimentary spending calculator if helpful.

  1. Get Support

Finally, GameSense offers quizzes to assess gambling habits, information about self-exclusion from live or online games, and resources in multiple forms.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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