GameSense: Providing education and information on responsible gambling
July 23, 2018
As the crown corporation responsible for managing gambling on behalf of the province of British Columbia, BCLC is committed to promoting responsible gambling and offering games in a way that encourages positive play and informed choice. BCLC’s GameSense program is a cornerstone of our player health strategy to increase safer gambling practices and decrease gambling-related harms, and is grounded in the theory that the more people know, the better equipped they are to make healthy decisions about gambling.
GameSense encourages players to adopt behaviours and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders, such setting time and money limits, as well as being open and honest with friends and family about personal gambling habits. What makes the program different is that it engages players using fun and novel tools, tactics and resources.
It presents information to players in a non-judgmental, engaging manner to promote responsible play, remove the stigma around problem gambling and connect those who recognize they have a problem to the resources they need. When someone is ready to get help, GameSense can serve as a first step for a problem gambler.
BCLC developed GameSense in 2009, and other jurisdictions have since adopted the program, including Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan in Canada, and Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Massachusetts Gaming Commission and MGM Resorts International in the U.S.
GameSense has had many successes and international recognition thanks in part to the continuous evaluation and improvement of programming. In 2017, BCLC undertook a “deep dive” into the brand to ensure that it aligns with BCLC’s player health strategy and the needs of players and gaming workers in British Columbia and beyond.
BCLC’s research of the GameSense brand revealed several insights including that players felt overloaded with information, and that they were confused between problem gambling and responsible gambling, and the role of GameSense and GameSense Advisors in casinos.
Research also showed that positivity, balance (gambling as one part of life), simplicity and friendliness leads to increased player engagement. As a result, BCLC refreshed its GameSense brand, and approach, in fall 2017 with:
- Short, simple messaging that is easy to retain;
- Refreshed graphics and images for posters, brochures and marketing efforts (as opposed to more stark photography);
- Lighter, more conversational tone – not too serious and functional;
- Focused, relevant messages for different audiences;
- Revised context (i.e. life balance and positivity); and
- Refreshed GameSense booth design and staff uniforms.