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Gambling addiction expert concerned about change to allow 24-hour slots

This Feb. 22, 2019 photo shows gamblers playing slot machines at the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Concerns are being raised by gambling addiction experts after the AGLC recently allowed casinos to keep slot machines running 24 hours a day.

According to the Psychology Professor David Hodgins, slots could be one of the catalysts that turn a little bit of fun into an addiction.

“Slot machines are the type of gambling that likely causes the greatest number of people to get into problems,” says the U of C prof who specializes in gambling and addictive behaviours.

The bells, whistles, and screens of slot machines could be enough to lure any problem gambler to the point where time and money are quickly and easily lost.

Hodgins believes there’s a value to turning off the machines, allowing gamblers to regroup and change their decision making–and that’s happening in other jurisdictions.

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“There’s a movement towards greater consumer protection and [that] means limiting access, not increasing access,” said Hodgens.

“Some jurisdictions are moving towards having people make a pre-commitment when they gamble about how much money they’re willing to spend and how much time they’re willing to gamble. And that’s probably the best way to make sure people don’t lose control.”

In a statement to Postmedia, the AGLC says the change is fully optional, adding there’s no timeline for when 24-hour slots would be implemented.