Step Three of B.C.'s COVID-19 restart plan is scheduled to begin Canada Day (July 1).
Included in the next stage is the reopening of casinos at a limited capacity while following a "new sector" COVID-19 safety plan, and a Coquitlam facility is gearing up for the return of in-person gambling.
Conor MacLeod is a BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) GameSense Advisor with the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver — located at 2080 United Blvd. — and when casinos are scheduled reopen next month, he's set to help patrons manage their time and health when the "urge" becomes too much.
“I’m really looking forward to connecting with players in person again," the player-health specialist explained in a news release to the Tri-City News.
“While so much has changed over the last year, what hasn’t is our role in helping players keep gambling fun through understanding how the games work, creating time and money limits and providing support to those who want to take a break."
Hard Rock Casino's website says it remains confident Coquitlam and Metro Vancouver residents will be able to safely return to its building on July 1 and its team is working to prepare for that date.
The venue closed in mid-March 2020 when COVID-19 took full effect in the province and shut down all of Great Canadian Gaming’s casinos across the country.
(It's noted that the city of Coquitlam receives 10% of net profits for hosting the Hard Rock.)
From there, B.C.'s gambling industry took a dive — like most other sectors — as residents switched to online gaming, but missed the thrill of being inside with friends and peers alike.
With an uptick for in-person returns expected for casinos like the Hard Rock, BCLC has mandated reconfigurations so health and wellbeing of visitors are supported, such as following the limited capacity requirement by the province, plexiglass and other physical barriers.
“Our GameSense Advisors are eager to be back on site after more than a year, to reconnect with players and support healthy play,” said Dr. Jamie Wiebe, BCLC’s Director of Player Health in the same statement.
“GameSense Advisors are excellent listeners and whether players stop by the GameSense Information Centre to chat about their day, how the games work, or odds of winning, we know that these interactions result in players feeling more informed and connected to available resources, and further support if needed.”
MacLeod and BCLC offer the following tips for when B.C. gamblers make the decision to return to a venue on or after July 1:
- Know your time and spending limits before you get there
- Take breaks, grab a snack or some fresh air
- Treat it as a form of entertainment, not a way to make money
- Take time to get to know the GameSense Advisor
For more information about GameSense Advisors, you can visit PlayNow.com.