It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that on Friday, August 11th, Tibor Imre Barsony, the courageous and fearless founder of the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling in 1983, which became the Responsible Gambling Council of Canada in 2001, passed away.
Under his leadership, he tenaciously persuaded government, regulators, operators, the health care system, social service providers, treatment providers and researchers, that compulsive gambling was a significant problem that required their attention. As a result, for the past 35 years, policies, regulations, responsible gambling standards, research, and treatment emerged to prevent and reduce problem gambling and provide support to individuals who were experiencing challenges.
Tibor launched the first awareness program for patrons at Windsor Casino in 1994. He also launched Canada’s first conference on problem gambling in 1995. In addition to valiantly advocating for education, policy and systems change, Tibor personally counselled and helped many individuals with gambling problems. He was also a founding member of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) in Canada, and continued to be a committed member and advocate for GA. In addition, he spread the word about compulsive gambling across Canada and many other parts of the world speaking innumerable times at conferences, professional gatherings and in meetings with politicians and bureaucrats.