Saskatchewan Gaming Corp Implements Disentitlement Policy at Moose Jaw and Regina Casinos

Written By Janice Doughtrey

In line with the amendment of the province’s Gaming Regulations 2007 last June 2015, which saw to the introduction of the Disentitlement Policy, the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation’s two casino properties are now implementing the policy that would prevent gamblers from breaching a voluntary self-exclusion agreement.

The Disentitlement Policy, which came into effect last October 01, 2015 applies to Regina and Moose Jaw Casino customers who voluntarily entered into self-exclusion agreement, to individuals below 19 years of age, to Sask Gaming employees, including certain parties providing services at the two casino properties, as well as those were who involuntarily excluded by the Sask Gaming casinos. The newly introduced policy gives Sask Gaming, the authority to withhold winnings gained by the aforementioned individuals deemed as disqualified to win, whether in cash, in kind, or credits.

The Disentitlement Policy aims to help individuals to not break their self-exclusion agreement, as well as deter ineligible, compulsive, and underage gamblers from gambling in the Saskatchewan casinos by removing the primary objective of their desire to gamble. Funds withheld as results of disentitlement enforcement will go to Saskatchewan Gaming’s Community Relations program, which, in turn, will be responsible for disbursing funds to finance projects and events, as well as help groups, in the province of Saskatchewan.

The President and CEO of Sask Gaming Susan Flett explained that the purpose of the Disentitlement Policy is to eliminate the temptation to gamble by taking away from excluded and ineligible individuals, the opportunity to win.  The goal of the policy is of particular importance to individuals who voluntarily entered the self-exclusion agreement as provided by the responsible gaming program. Once the new policy is in place,  self-excluding individuals will have no desire to break their responsible gambling commitment.

Nancy Heppner, Minister for Highways and Infrastructure and responsible for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation said that, they are always seeking for ways to strengthen their commitment to delivering casino gaming entertainment in a manner regarded as socially responsible. Ms.Heppner said the implementation of the Disentitlement Policy adds a potent tool to the corporation’s full-bodied responsible gaming program, particularly beneficial to individuals beleaguered by problem gambling behavior.

Saskatchewan is the second Canadian jurisdiction to put into service the Disentitlement Policy, following the lead already set by the province of British Columbia. The government of Saskatchewan though, amended some of the gaming regulations originally implemented by British Columbia. As it was, the initial attempt to implement the rule in 2009 had some legal issues.

The Manager of Responsible Gaming at Sask Gaming Corporations, Laurie Norman, commented that the policy was a rule they had merely set off, and not one that they originated. Ms. Norman claimed that its implementation was at the request of problem gamblers themselves. The group had asked for a self-exclusion program with “more teeth” and with capabilities to walk the talk, so to speak.

Ms. Norman remarked that they have yet to see how the self-exclusion policy will work. Yet she hopes to see the ideal situation, where they would never have to enforce the rule because that would denote that every casino customer with a self-exclusion order simply stays out.