Gambling Program Marks 25 Year Anniversary


Ontario's only gambling residential program, located in Windsor, is marking a 25-year milestone.

The Centre for Problem Gambling and Digital Dependency, located at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, began in 1994 as an outpatient program.

In 2005, it became offering inpatient services to help people addicted to gambling and the hospital celebrated the anniversary on September 27. 

Noah, from Ottawa, attended the three-week inpatient program and credits it with saving his life.

He says he knew from a young age in the school yard, that he was different when it came to trading hockey cards or playing with marbles because 'it was never enough.' 

Noah remembers it was easy to get addicted.

"We are inundated with so much advertising availability and media to gambling, you can't go anywhere now without seeing it," he says. "The problem is only going to get bigger for people like me who can't control it."

He hit rock bottom when he began considering suicide and credit the inpatient program for saving his life.

"It is the whole three weeks, it is the being away from the media, away from your phone, it is the steady diet and the dinner times with the group, it is bring it back a little bit and it slows things down enough to absorb the material that was being given."

Noah says the inpatient program acts like a 'time out'.

"They give you a hundred things that can help and you pick the 25 that work best for you and you come out there after that 3 weeks refreshed with an ability to have a new perspective on the world."

Noah says he had tried outpatient programs before, but it never worked.

The program, formally known as Problem Gambling Services, began in a room at the Market Square before moving to the west end hospital facility.

It provides free, confidential and professional treatment services to individuals, their family and friends. 


-- with files from Rob Hindi