Youth new face of gambling addiction, data shows

Younger people more at risk for problem gambling, target of new B.C. action

  • Feb. 3, 2015 6:00 p.m.

By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Problem gambling has decreased in British Columbia, but younger people are at higher risk of becoming addicted to gaming, according to a new study commission by the province.

The study found an estimated 34,000 fewer people experienced issues with gambling in 2014 compared to seven years earlier. But it said youth were the most likely to have problems relative to other age groups.

The 2014 Problem Gambling Prevalence Study was released on Tuesday at a responsible gambling conference hosted by the B.C. Lottery Corp. and the province. It said there were an estimated 125,000 problem gamblers in the province, or about 3.3 per cent of the population — down from 4.6 per cent in 2008.

The research conducted by Malatest & Associates Ltd. determined that 18- to 24-year-old youth were the least likely to gamble in B.C., but the most likely to become problem gamblers.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong told the conference on Tuesday that the provincial government has opened its eyes to the “significantly higher risk” for youth to become addicted.

He said the government has developed a plan of 21 commitments to continue addressing the health risks associated with gambling, and part of the focus will be on youth.

“This plan calls for improvement to current prevention materials, and an increased awareness of problem gambling among teachers, parents administrators and the public.”

Of those surveyed, 62 per cent of the youth said they gamble in some way, the lowest participation rate of any age category. However, 25.7 per cent of those identified themselves as either at risk or problem gamblers.

Other high-risk groups identified by the study were Aboriginal Peoples, individuals of South Asian ethnic origins and those with low household incomes.

Specialists in problem gambling delivered more than 3,700 presentations across the province in 2013-14, but that strategy must be improved upon, de Jong said. Children in Grades 6 to 12 were among recipients of the classroom presentation.

“Research tells us that it takes more than a single presentation to change behaviour and attitudes, so we’re moving to integrate our education materials more fully into everyday instruction in a variety of subject areas.”

De Jong attributed part of the general decline to the province’s more than $10 million in gambling-problems programming, but also noted it’s consistent with a wider trend being reported across North America.

Other measures include:

— Adding customized responsible-gambling messages to B.C.’s online casino website.

— Enhancing time and money tracking tools already on the site, and offering them in casinos.

— Increasing interactions between gamblers and advisers who are trained to answer questions about gaming and dispel myths. They will also go into community gaming centres.

— Conducting new research into problem gaming among online players, as well as into ways to reduce the high-risk features on electronic gaming machines.

Follow @TamsynBurgmann on Twitter

Just Posted

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

New Carnarvon Park field-house could cost $4.3M

Both tennis and pickleball courts are included in new draft plan

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Student Voice: Saanich students launch competitive robotics team

The Reynolds Reybots plan to share their skills with middle schools

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read