By Tara Henley 
BELLEVILLE – Shorelines Casino in Belleville has become home to Ontario’s first PlaySmart Centre , a program to encourage responsible gambling.
It’s run by the Responsible Gambling Council , a non-profit organization that works to prevent problem gambling.
Previously called Responsible Gaming Resource Centres , the new facilities received more than just a name change. The centres were redesigned after years of research and several focus groups, says PlaySmart Centre employee Michelle Meilleur.
“They’re now more welcoming, inclusive and informative. We’re able to build relationships with players easier than before when the centres were really just an information booth,” she said. “It was based on advanced research and you won’t find anything like it in Vegas for instance.”
— PlaySmart OLG (@PlaySmartOLG) January 24, 2017 
Since November 2016, the council has been working toward broadening the centres’ appeal, designing them to be more welcoming for players. The one at Belleville’s casino includes services such as a wall of TV and interactive screens, a phone-charging station, games and free coffee. Players can also ask to see a demonstration of how the inside of a slot machine works.
While the PlaySmart Centre does not offer counselling, referrals to local gambling and addiction services are available upon request.
“We’re really here more to listen and offer support,” said Meilleur. “If someone were to come to us with questions, we have all the information they could need. But if they expressed the desire for further support, we’d be happy to refer them somewhere like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health .”
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation  recently made it mandatory for casinos to have these centres on the gaming floor to increase the number of gamers who visit them.
“It has to be on the casino floor, not tucked away hidden in a basement or dungeon,” said Meilleur. “Even though these centres have been met with success in the past, we’re always looking to attract more players to come check us out.”