The River Rock Casino and Resort spends a lot of money encouraging people to come throw dice at its Blackjack tables or pump chips into its slot machines. But recently, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) announced two new employees who may do just the opposite at the Richmond casino.
One GameSense Advisor (GSA) will be stationed at the River Rock casino as a resource for Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking players who have developed, or may be developing, a gambling addiction.
Jonathan Qiao, a Mandarin-speaking GSA, speaking at Wednesday’s announcement, said he has helped many Chinese immigrants by debunking gambling myths and connecting those who feel they need support with resources to establish healthy playing habits.
“I always listen to players without any judgment and then offer them advice. Players can stay safe and have fun through my support,” said Qiao, adding that “gambling isn’t about making money, but should be for fun.”
Qiao recalls one player who had signed up for the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program (VSE), a program which helps people take a break from gambling, but still the player couldn’t resist the urge to keep coming back.
However, after Qiao spent more than six hours hearing his story and talking to him, the player decided to take a long-term break from slot machines.
“Working as a GameSense Advisor has been a rewarding experience for me. I feel incredibly happy about making a difference in people’s lives,” Qiao said with a smile.
Wilson Tsang, a Cantonese-speaking GameSense Advisor at Starlight Casino, will also be at River Rock to help players make informed decisions about gambling.
According to a release from BCLC, GameSense Advisors have had approximately 67,000 interactions with customers at B.C. casinos each year.
In addition to Mandarin and Cantonese, BCLC has advisors at various B.C. casinos and community gaming centres offering services in English, Tagalog and Punjabi. Players can also have access to printed resources at GameSense information centres.
For more information, visit gamesense.com.