Event teaches responsible gambling
The Métis Nation of Ontario Health Branch delivered a message about responsible gambling in a fun way Sunday at the Métis Hall here.
While it may have been cold outside, families got warmed with a hot brunch and some traditional dancing, followed by an afternoon of games.
MNO community wellness co-ordinator Charmaine Langlais said the agency has a mandate to deliver a responsible gambling activity for the public.
“We chose a mock casino to provide a fun and interactive way to provide information about responsible gambling,” she explained.
Participants were given an envelope containing $100 in “Métis Money” to play the mock casino games. If they lost all of their money, they were encouraged to visit a debriefing station.
Upon successfully answering a scenario or trivia question related to gambling, they earned more “Métis Money.”
At the end of the casino portion, participants exchanged their “Métis Money” for tickets to enter their names into draws for a variety of prizes.
“And then we did play a video and had a discussion afterwards on what they would have done differently if that was real money,” noted Langlais.
“We kind of wrapped it up with that.
“Even though it was pretend money, some people might have felt that rush, so we thought that was a good time to discuss it,” she reasoned.
Langlais felt the event was an innovative way of providing updated information on responsible gambling—and it was successful.
“Anne-Marie [Armstrong] and I have been involved in delivering mock casinos in other communities, but this was the first in Fort Frances,” she noted.
“We aimed to provide relevant information about gambling and gambling-related issues to Métis people to assist them in making healthy choices and enjoy improved health and wellness,” said Langlais.
She added “feedback was positive from those in attendance and many gained knowledge on how to gamble responsibly while having fun.”
Here are a few of the tips given to the participants:
•remember that gambling or betting has an element of risk;
•limit the amount of money you bet and time you spend betting;
•do not spend your winnings on gambling;
•do not carry more money than you are prepared to lose;
•continue to do the other activities you enjoy; and
•hope to win, expect to lose.
To provide a fun alternative to the casino games, traditional Métis games also were offered, such as one where a player tries to get a ball on a string through a hole in a piece of birch bark and a fast-paced card game involving spoons.
Knowing that families would be in attendance, there also were activities and games in the kids’ area.
Elmer Whitefish and Tommy Johnson played traditional music to further liven up the event.