• Having two of what I consider to be pioneers of modern approaches to responsible gambling attend our conference: Robert Ladouceur (Quebec City) as a co-presenter, and Alex Blaszczynski (Sydney, Australia) as a conference delegate. Together with co-author Howard Shaffer, their September 2004 paper, A science-based framework for responsible gambling: The Reno Model, has served as the strategic underpinning of approaches by operators, prevention specialists, and educators for programming intended to reduce the potential for gambling-related harms.
• Our focus group of seniors who shared their experiences of gambling, while knowing they were being watched by a large group of conference attendees. I’ve witnessed a number of focus groups over the years and, as our moderator Kyle Braid of Ipsos Reid noted, rarely do you find a group so willing to engage, and so articulate in their expression.
• Don Feeney’s (Saint Paul, Minnesota) entertaining lunchtime presentation, depicting various historical representations of gambling and gamblers in popular culture, especially art and music. It was fun, but also led many of us to think about the implications of cultural bias in how we approach gambling prevention and treatment.
•Watching Mark Griffiths (Nottingham, England), who is always an engaging presenter, talk through an information-packed session about one of his favourite topics: The impact of technology on gambling and problem gambling treatment and prevention. Mark is one of the most prolific writers I know, but his presentations must be experienced. One delegate remarked, ‘Mark’s the only guy I know who can do a two-hour presentation in one hour.’
• The amazing financial support of our many sponsors and exhibitors, who took a bit of a risk to invest in a first time event. They all demonstrated real commitment to BCLC and to responsible gambling that we truly appreciate. Their engagement helped us to add a host of extras that really contributed to this being a first class event.
Planning is now underway for next year’s New Horizons in Responsible Gamblingconference ,January 27-29, 2014, in Vancouver. If you missed this year’s event, or want to hear a session again, recordings of the 2013 presentations are available on the New Horizons website.