RGC in the News

Find out what’s new at the Responsible Gambling Council. Read our latest press releases and media coverage.


Large majority of Ontarians who gamble are aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves: Survey

January 29, 2020

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is delivering outreach programs across Ontario to raise awareness of risks associated with gambling and how people can protect themselves. These public education initiatives are supported by a new RGC survey of Ontarians that explores attitudes and behaviours about gambling.

RGC teams are interacting with people in various community settings, including colleges, universities and sporting venues, to highlight that gambling always carries risk and the value of making a plan about limits prior to gambling.

“The good news emerging from our survey is that the large majority of Ontarians who gamble are aware of the potential harms and take steps to protect themselves,” says Shelley White, CEO of RGC. “However, the findings also reveal how easy it can be to get carried away in the moment and underscore the need to protect yourself from the risks. Our programs communicate specific messages depending on the age group. These include the importance of setting time and money limits before gambling, to avoid emotional or impulsive decision making.”

The Community Outreach program involves an interactive game called Reaction Lab – a digital experience that simulates how the brain responds to stimulus, similar to when a person gambles.

There is also a team visiting colleges and universities across the province to educate young adults about how gambling can heighten emotional states, making it difficult to make informed decisions while gambling. This bilingual interactive program is called Check Your (Re)flex / Testez Vos (Ré)flexes. Similar to the Community Outreach program aimed at all age groups, this youth-focused advocacy shares signs of problem gambling common to young people and offers important tips such as setting and sticking to money and time limits.

Key survey findings

RGC’s new survey, which polled 1,411 Ontarian gamblers last fall, sheds light on attitudes, emotional responses and behaviours related to gambling.

  • 13.6 per cent of gamblers surveyed said at some point they gambled money they could not afford to lose.
  • One in three (33 per cent) did not always consider the amount of money they were prepared to lose before they gambled.
  • 31 per cent indicated they had spent more time gambling than they could afford at some point in the past six months.
  • 49 per cent did not always consider the amount of time they were prepared to gamble prior to playing.

Key findings related to young adults:

The survey suggests young adults (18 to 24) are more vulnerable to the emotional rush of gambling, raising the threat level of high-risk behaviours.

  • 58 per cent said they gambled because it makes them feel good at least sometimes.
  • One in five (19.9 per cent) gambled to cope with depression or nervousness at least sometimes.
  • 33 per cent gambled to get a “high” feeling at least sometimes.
    Over a quarter (26.5 per cent) gambled to forget their worries at least sometimes.
  • 35 per cent gambled to cheer up when in a bad mood at least sometimes.
  • Other research shows 7.1 per cent of young adults have some type of gambling problem and nearly eight-in-10 Ontarians aged 18 to 24 (76.9 per cent) gambled in the past year.

Plan before you play

One of RGC’s key outreach messages for those who gamble is the value of having a plan in place prior to playing to manage potential risks before they appear. This involves setting strict loss and win limits and allocating a set amount of time in advance. When any of these planned limits are reached, the appropriate/best/ response is to walk away.

Part of a solid plan includes taking frequent breaks. It’s important to pause, reflect, and re-evaluate time or money spent. Setting a phone alarm makes for an easy reminder to take a break from gambling.

Another important message, particularly for young adults, is to be aware that one’s emotional state can impact decisions while gambling. Limiting alcohol or drugs, not gambling when depressed or worried and not using gambling as a way to feel better are all important ways to minimize risk.

Young people can gain valuable insights into the risks associated with gambling by visiting CheckYourReflex.ca and TestezVosRéflexes.ca


Between November 28th and December 12th, 2019, the Responsible Gambling Council conducted a province-wide survey of Ontarian adults aged 18+. With the help of Delvinia’s AskingCanadians panel, a total of 2,011 online surveys were completed (including a sample of 1411 gamblers). The survey data was weighted to reflect Ontario’s age and gender distribution, according to most recent Census data. Based on a 95% confidence level, the survey results have a margin of error +/- 2.19%.

About RGC

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention. RGC works to reduce gambling risks by creating and delivering innovative awareness and information programs, for a wide range of different groups including youth, young adults and the general public.


For Immediate Release: RGC Joins All-In Diversity Project in Support of Diversity & Inclusion in Canada

February 14, 2019

The All-In Diversity Project is proud to announce its latest Strategic Partnership with The Responsible Gambling Council of Canada, one of the world’s leading authorities on the prevention of problem gambling and the first Canadian partner for All-In.

The topic of Diversity & Inclusion a regular part of everyday life including part of business strategy. Several studies continue to show that a diverse workforce can be a key factor in improving a business’s bottom line and overall product delivery. The next step for businesses in our industry will be to collaborate, share best practices and work on progressing together towards a more inclusive industry. The partnership between AIDP and RGC is a step forward in the right direction using data, research and responsibility to ensure we create a more diverse and inclusive industry for the future.

“Whilst the industry has done some great work in the area of responsible gaming and harm minimisation, most has been based upon the behaviours of specific social and cultural groupings. Our partnership with the RGC allows us to start to explore how diversity and inclusion and a lack of social, economic, cultural or religious awareness and unconscious bias can lead to ‘blind spots’ in our approaches to social responsibility and harm minimisation including the use of data science, machine learning and A.I. Until then we can never truly protect all of our customers, only some.” said Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder of All-In Diversity Project.

“RGC is pleased to become a partner in the All-in-Diversity Project.  We believe it is vital to attract Board members and staff that reflect the communities we serve.  Understanding the needs and interests of people from different backgrounds enables RGC to offer regulators, operators and players, across the globe, relevant and meaningful responsible gambling strategies and programs.  We look forward to learning from and sharing with the All-in-Diversity Project partners and to continue to build an industry which treats all employees and players with respect and dignity” said Shelley White, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council.

As part of the Strategic Partnership, All-in Diversity Project and RGC will be working closely together to set the standard for how businesses can make Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Gambling an integrated effort to improve how we as an industry progress in the future.

The All-in Diversity Project is the industry’s global resource for data pertaining to diversity and inclusion. We collect data through employee surveys and the All-Index — a standard index which is set to be the definitive benchmarking tool for the gambling industry to measure progress towards inclusion in the workplace. Our vision is to shift the paradigm for inclusion through transparency, measurability and actionable tactics.

For more information, email info@allindiversityproject.com


Remembering Tibor Barsony: Founder of The Canadian Foundation On Compulsive Gambling

Aug 18, 2017

Friends, family and colleagues are remembering an influential and courageous trailblazer who has passed away. Tibor Barsony, founder and executive director of the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling (CFCG) from 1983 to 1997, died on Friday August 11th.

In 1980, Tibor embarked on the journey that would establish CFCG (which later became the Responsible Gambling Council), propelled by his inability to find services and support for his own gambling problem. In the determined and audacious manner that was to become his trademark, Tibor sought out the most qualified person to mentor him and give him the tools to secure support and assistance for people with a gambling problem. He found this help in Dr. Robert L. Custer, a psychiatrist who in 1974 opened the first clinic for the treatment of compulsive gambling in the United States. After gathering as much information and knowledge as he could, Tibor established the CFCG in 1983.

The Foundation of 1983 was humble and decidedly grassroots: Tibor had an office in his basement and a few dollars in the bank. His first task was outreach, sending letters to what he determined to be the 100 most influential Ontarians, alerting them to the issue of compulsive gambling. He mailed the letters out and waited, unsure of what would happen next.

But I think most of all, I am proud of knowing I helped people. I turned my own experience into something positive…I was first and foremost a counsellor. I wanted compulsive gamblers to know that somebody understood their struggle. There are people around, today, who I know I helped.

— Tibor Imre Barsony

His persuasive words and powerful message received overwhelming support. The CFCG was starting to make an impact. At a time when problem gambling was not considered a social and political issue, Tibor tenaciously persuaded government, regulators, operators, the healthcare system, social service providers, treatment providers and researchers, that it was, in fact, a significant problem requiring immediate attention. As a result, for the past 35 years, policies, regulations, responsible gambling standards, research, and treatment emerged to prevent and reduce problem gambling and provide support to individuals who were experiencing challenges.

Tibor’s outreach extended well beyond policymakers. He launched the first awareness program for patrons at Windsor Casino in 1994. He also launched Canada’s first conference on problem gambling in 1995. In addition to valiantly advocating for education, policy and systems change, Tibor personally counselled and helped countless individuals with gambling problems. He was also a founding member of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) in Canada, and continued to be a committed member and advocate for GA. In addition, he spread the word about compulsive gambling across Canada and many other parts of the world, speaking innumerable times at conferences, professional gatherings and in meetings with politicians and bureaucrats.

Tibor was the devoted husband of Mary Barsony and a loving father and father-in-law of Julie, Rob and Arnt. A dedicated Zaidy of Mitchell and Vanessa, Evan and Daniel and a proud Great Grandfather of Lillian. He was adored by his older brother Paul and younger sister Olga and predeceased by his brother Peter.

We are deeply honoured that we had the opportunity to interview Tibor.

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