A Manitoba online site, Playnow.com, has come under scrutiny from a former problem gambler who claims that the online gambling site could become a problem for the Manitoba area, and that others could easily become hooked on gambling. The online casino is government-run and operated.
“I think online gambling, for those poor people who will use it, is deadly,” told former gambling addict “Marie” to CBC news recently.
“We’re very good at hiding it,” she added. “We’re very good at being secretive. And now you’re putting gambling online? Well, they can lay in bed with their credit card and gamble to their heart’s content.”
“Marie” recently gave up gambling, after sixteen years of playing bingo and keno in casinos led her to develop an addiction to gambling.
Since the site was launched in January this year, more than 4,000 users have registered to Playnow.com, which was established to compete with the ever-increasing array of unregulated websites which see residents of Manitoba fork out around $40 million each year.
However, the worry comes from the fact that a regulated, secure site such as Playnow.com will attract newcomers to online gambling who would otherwise not have tried it out. Perhaps they think safe means they can’t lose?
Those behind Playnow.com argue that safeguards exist on the website to help prevent gambling addiction, amongst which are mandatory budget limits and a self-exclusion feature which allows players to be voluntarily barred from the site for a chosen period of time. But this would possibly only work for those who recognize the dangers that surround online gambling and addiction. For those without such insight, there is little that can be done.
That being said, it is undoubtedly better for sites to be regulated in order to protect the players and their privacy. And since reports suggest that a growing number of Canadians are using unregulated, offshore-based gambling sites, surely it is better to have a government-controlled site available?
It is also more beneficial to the local economy which will be able to benefit from revenues created by the website which were previously being handed to offshore sites, who may or may not be even remotely interested in promoting responsible gambling.