Responsible gambling: “Thus far shalt thou go and no further"

Barrière has an extensive system in place in each of its establishments to support the fight against gambling addiction. It offers sessions to clients who gamble at its casinos to teach them how to moderate their gambling behaviour and even stop it altogether. This is different to the "classic" procedure involving an official ban.

Alice Tafforin is "Responsible gambling Superviser" at Casino Barrière Toulouse. Her job involves prevention and support - ensuring that certain gamblers do not fall into "excessive gambling, the consequences of which may include isolation, withdrawal and even hiding yourself away". Alice Tafforin has set up an "observation post" for herself at the Toulouse casino. The system covers all the bases – from keeping a friendly eye on clients to meeting them in person at her or their request.


Four questions for Alice Tafforin.


"Thus far shalt thou go and no further." This is an Irish saying about self-determination and self-control. But is it appropriate for Responsible Gambling?


 "Thus far shalt thou go and no further": this does apply to the Casinos Barrière approach, even though it doesn’t do it full justice. We were the first in France to make a commitment to the prevention of excessive gambling and advise gamblers of the importance of taking responsibility when gambling.  We have introduced a prevention strategy aimed at gamblers at our casinos – supported by friendly trained personnel who are there to listen and various tools such as Voluntary Access Limitation (VAL).


Who come to you?


There is no specific "profile" but it might involve women over the age of 50, for example, or younger men after an adrenalin high. “We’re here for you” is a voluntary option for gamblers. We don’t decide for them but provide them with support, and form a relationship with them. I go out onto the floor and talk to clients. Staff members – all trained - sometimes "pass on" information or flag behaviour that they see as a sign of excessive gambling.


What part do a gambler’s own efforts play in terms of prevention?


They are essential. Again, we don’t decide for them. They need to be aware of the problems caused by excessive gambling. Gamblers are sometimes tentative in their efforts to change their gambling behaviour, so we use what we call a motivational session. We listen, form a relationship and apply techniques that encourage gamblers to find a way forward for reducing the frequency of their gambling.


How effective is the tool (VAL) that you make available to gamblers?


In 8 out of 10 cases, we see a clear reduction in gambling frequency after a year when we employ Voluntary Access Limitation (VAL) in gaming rooms. What we – and the gambler - are aiming at is to break the chain of addiction, so that gambling always remains a pleasure.