Hard Rock Casino Canada promotions targeting Ottawa’s at-risk Chinese?
Canada’s capitol city is a cultural conflation of disambiguation. The second largest city in Ontario, and fourth largest in the country, Ottawa has long attracted individuals and families from all over the world. As of the 2011 census, more than 15% of the city’s population is of Asian descent. This might help to explain Hard Rock Casino‘s position in producing Asian-inspired ad campaigns.
Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, now in partnership with Rideau Carleton Raceway, recently unveiled expansion plans that will include an “Asian inspired lounge”. As part of its promotional campaign, they’ve begun advertising to Chinese visitors. The new Ottawa Canada casino promo includes 100% Chinese language ads, both online and throughout the city via billboards.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is up in arms over the campaign, however. Following the casino’s proposal for expansion, the organization released a warning that some ethnocultural groups, including Chinese, are at higher risk of gambling addiction.
Hard Rock Canada Casino Promotions Targeting At-Risk Gamblers?
The OPH seems to insinuate that the casino is intentionally gearing its campaign towards at-risk gamblers. Anna Wong, executive director of and Chinese Family Services of Ontario (CFSO), a non-profit counseling service, doesn’t exactly agree with that estimation. However, she calls Rideau’s promotions anything but unique, pointing out that gambling establishments all over the world of courting Asian players.
“Gambling is one of the social activities that are pretty primary to the culture, or ingrained in the social culture,” says Wong.
According to a 2002 study by Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, an independent organization funded by the province, Asian individuals are disproportionately at risk for experiencing harm from gambling. That study showed 2.9% of the sample-survey’s Chinese respondents displayed problematic behavior, compared to 1.2% among the general populace.
Wong believes that part of the problem is a lack of convenient treatment methods. She says that of the approximately 500 people who request gambling related treatment services from CFSO each year, most do so involuntarily, either under court order or due to pressure from their families.
Most are from outside the community, and are unable to seek treatment in their own area, due largely to language barriers. She says this “prevents them from reaching out,” on their own.
But Wong isn’t blaming the Hard Rock or its advertising material for the problem. She believes the fault lies upon the support services that have failed to increase their duties proportionately with the growth of gambling, and the growth of the Chinese population within the communities.
Ottawa Canada Casino Promo Up to Code
Rideau Carleton/Hard Rock is violating no codes or conditions by advertising to the Asian community, in the Chinese language or otherwise. The casino denies specifically targeting any one type of gambler.
“We market to all communities,” says the casino’s director, Andrew Wright. “If there’s Mandarin-speaking people who are interested in gaming then we want to expose our entertainment to them.”
Wright goes on to defend the operation’s compliance with OLG standards, especially where player protections and responsibility are concerned. The OLG requires strict safeguarding against gambling addiction, and the Rideau Carleton/Hard Rock Casino Canada promotions do not breach any such regulatory demands.
Even so, management is promising to work with OPH to address its concerns.