PROBLEM GAMBLING DECLINES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
But on the rise in 18 to 24 age group despite it being the group least likely to gamble.
A report released by the British Columbia Government shows problem gambling on the decline.
3058 people were interviewed via online and telephone surveys in the 2014 B.C. Problem Gambling Prevalence Study which estimated 125,000 (3.3 percent) problem gamblers compared to 159,000 (4.6 percent) in 2008.
Although young adults 18 to 24 years of age were the least likely age group to gamble, they were most likely to experience problem gambling relative to other age groups.
Among 18-to-24-year-olds, 7.3 percent were classified as problem gamblers, and 18.4 percent were classified as at-risk/problem gamblers.
In light of the results, the B.C. government plans to step up its efforts in addressing the risks of gambling focusing on four main themes: problem gambling prevention among youth, encouraging responsible gambling, problem gambling treatment, and research.
Other initiatives will include the addition of a customised responsible gambling messaging on PlayNow.com, B.C. Lottery Corporation’s online gaming portal as online gambling grew from 2 percent in 2002 to 4 percent in 2014.
The Government will also invest in research to understand problem gambling among online players and to determine the impact of reducing high-risk features on electronic gaming machines.
The Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia will receive $2 million in funding over five years to monitor and address these issues.
Health Minister Terry Lake commenting on the report said: “The research commitments in this plan will shed new light on the health impacts of electronic gaming machines, on-line gambling and the connection between problem gambling, substance abuse and mental health. We can use that information to improve our prevention and treatment programs.”