SooToday.com received the following message from Tony Bitonti, OLG's senior manager of media relations, in response to Bob Mihell's report from Monday: What OLG doesn't know about gamblers.
The report, which was the final story in a three-part series, quoted Paul Pellizzari, executive director of policy and social responsibility at OLG.
OLG does not hold the position that these features do not contribute to risk.
In fact, we acknowledge that these aspects of gaming operations can contribute to risk for some players.
Again, I raised questions about the precise impacts that these features have on different types of problem gamblers, because the effects are not universal, and the diversity of impacts on players is not well understood.
The research that is available in these areas does not lead to simple or clear conclusions.
To clarify, OLG has participated in one research study on ATMs and risk to players.
We have also reviewed the available research on 24-hour operations. We are committed to working to mitigate the risks related to these features, and we are working on more policy development in these areas.
We are seeking to understand how we can build on the work done to date on our RG program to improve our attempts to prevent and mitigate experiences of problem gamblers.
OLG has a good working relationship with CAMH as OLG worked with them on developing the RG training program for all our gaming staff (as Paul mentioned and you noted in your articles).
But CAMH is independent and often takes a different position from OLG and we accept that.
Its all part of the collaboration between a mental health facility and a gaming operator.
Saying that, on the matter of the proportion of revenue derived from problem gamblers, Paul raised questions about the methodology of the 2004 Williams and Wood study, making points that are consistent with the authors own observations.
This study is quoted repeatedly in the media but these references are never accompanied by a discussion around the effectiveness of that method, which is based on self-reports from gamblers.