BELLEVILLE – The Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corp. ( OLG) is launching a new online gaming site in the province within the next few weeks.
PlayOLG will feature online slot machines, blackjack and poker as well as the ability to purchase OLG lottery tickets such as LOTTO 649 and LOTTO Max.
It’s estimated the site will bring $375 million in additional profits to the province during the first five years of operation with proceeds going to support education, hospitals and community infrastructure in Ontario.
According to OLG, approximately 500,00 Ontarians participate in online gambling and spend as much as $500 million per year on gambling sites that are not regulated in Ontario. The OLG site will offer a controlled government-regulated alternative.
This announcement comes during Problem Gambling Prevention Week in Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County and Hastings County.
Problem Gambling Prevention Week is a week-long community-based awareness program designed by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC).
Heather Ly, project coordinator of RGC said that the week is an annual project where the council visits different cities and towns across Ontario that have gaming venues, and speak to people who have a potential gambling problem and provide information for family members on how to spot a problem.
“We do awareness programs dedicated to the prevention of problem gambling,” she said.
“We just want to get the information out there and give tips and tricks to people so if they do wish to gamble they can do so safely.”
Ly added that the tips are available on their website www.stopthechase.ca 
The Responsible Gaming Council estimates about 16,000 people are negatively affected by irresponsible gambling in this area.
“Sometimes family members will have a sense that something is wrong,” said Jon Kelly, CEO of RGC.
“This awareness program provides useful information to family members in this situation. Their actions can make a huge difference in helping the person with the gambling problem and also protect the family from harm,” he said.
The RGC says that each person’s experience is different, but some signs of a potential gambling problem can include:
- Hiding bills, past due notices, winnings or losses
- Gambling instead of spending time with friends or family
- Neglecting work and personal needs because of gambling
- Increased tension, stress and arguments relating to money
- Getting irritated more easily or having less patience when dealing with normal, everyday activities
- Increased debt, unpaid bills or other financial troubles
For more information with gambling problems in the Hastings/Prince Edward area, residents can contact the Addictions Centre Inc. at 613 – 969-0077