Smart Choices is a new responsible service training program that replaces Serving It Safe and the Problem Gambling Assistance Program (PGAP). Effective January 2, 2017, in establishments with a liquor licence, managers, security and staff who do not already have Serving It Safe or It’s Good Business training must successfully complete Smart Choices before starting to work in a licensed service establishment.
Generally, gambling is offered in businesses where liquor is served. The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) delivered PGAP since it was launched in the late 1990s; however, this in-person program was only required for one senior staff person at each VLT site. The LGA has worked with the AFM to include problem gambling awareness training in Smart Choices. This approach will equip all staff at VLT sites and casinos to help customers who may be struggling with gambling. Requiring the same liquor and gambling training for everyone also means that the Smart Choices certification is easily transferable across the hospitality industry.
The LGA has stopped inspecting for PGAP training. The AFM may still offer various responsible gambling training programs; however, the LGA no longer considers PGAP training to be a requirement for VLT sites that are also licensed to serve liquor.
A small number of First Nations VLT sites do not have liquor licences. The LGA and AFM will work with these establishments to ensure staff have responsible gambling training. Staff do not need to take Smart Choices if the establishments where they work do not have a liquor licence.