In recent news, BCLC announced that it will provide the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries with the opportunity to license GameSense for free. GameSense is BCLC’s player-facing, a positive-play program designed to assist players in making informed choices. In order to provide GameSense free-of-charge to NASPL members, BCLC created a unique, out-of-the-box model, which includes GameSense-branded assets and materials for use online and in lottery retail locations.
GameSense can be found in several jurisdictions throughout North America including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and across the suite of gaming facilities operated by MGM Resorts International.
Launched in 2009, GameSense aims to improve player trust, awareness, and education using research-based guidelines and best practices. GameSense has earned international recognition including the U.S.-based National Council on Problem Gambling’s Social Responsibility Award in 2015.
What is GameSense?
GameSense is a program administered by BCLC to help keep gambling a safe, fun source of entertainment. It provides players the wisdom to play responsibly. If you’re going to gamble, you should understand the games you want to play.
Lotteries take many forms, but most involve a random draw of numbers. If your numbers match the randomly selected numbers, you win. The more of your numbers that match the ones drawn, the bigger the prize you win.
The odds of winning a lottery vary wildly, as do the price of a ticket and the prizes. The odds may depend on how many tickets have been purchased—by you and by other people—and how many numbers you need to match. Generally speaking, the odds of winning the top prize are very low, even in comparison to other types of gambling. Like in a common lottery, a draw of six numbers between one and 49. The odds of winning the jackpot, which requires you to match all six numbers, are 1 in 13,983,816. Even if you win, if more than one person also matches all six numbers, you split the jackpot, reducing your share. Also, prizes are awarded if you match only a portion of the numbers drawn and the odds of matching five out of six numbers—1 in 55,492—aren’t exactly great. Thus the prize for matching five numbers is small, often only a few hundred dollars, compared to millions of dollars for the jackpot.
Points to note when playing the lottery
- There is nothing you can do to improve your odds of winning the lottery. The lottery is purely chance-based. There are no special skills you can acquire to become better at picking numbers, or winning, apart from buying more tickets. The best approach is to research the rules of the games you like to play, find out the odds of winning, and use that information to make the right choices for you.
- Quick Picks don’t improve your odds of winning. Using the Quick Pick option, where the numbers are randomly chosen for you, doesn’t improve your odds of winning—and it doesn’t make them worse. Every number has an equal chance of being drawn, whether you pick it or a computer picks it for you.
- Choosing a combination of numbers that few other people would pick does not improve the odds that your numbers will come up. However, if no one else has picked the same numbers as you, you won’t have to split the winnings with other people.
- Picking the same numbers each week doesn’t improve your odds of winning. It doesn’t make them worse either. Each time the numbers are drawn, there is the same chance they will come up like last time.
Similarly in Gamesense makes you help yourself and others. If you think that someone you love is suffering from a gambling problem, these resources can help you figure out what’s best to do and give you further information on how you can help. Take a Gamesense quiz to analyze your gambling habits and see where you fall on the spectrum of healthy play. Also if you’re gambling more often than you think you should, you might want to consider Voluntary Self-Exclusion program.
According to Kevin Gass, BCLC’s Vice-President of Lottery Gaming, by collaborating with industry partners in North America, they are creating a community of lottery jurisdictions with a shared commitment to player health. Working together will share key learnings and improve best practices for players all over the world.