Province Releases Gambling Prevalence Study

first_imgNova Scotia has one of the lowest rates of at-risk gambling in the country and fewer people are gambling overall, according to the 2007 Nova Scotia Gambling Prevalence Study released today, Oct. 16. Gambling rates are down in almost every category with the exception of lottery draw tickets. Thirteen per cent of Nova Scotians don’t gamble at all. Of those who do, the majority, 80.9 per cent, are no risk gamblers, meaning they are not at risk of developing problems related to gambling. A smaller group, 6.1 per cent, experience problems with finances, family relationships and more. Within that group, the number of Nova Scotians who are considered problem gamblers has remained stable at 2.5 per cent, while the rate of those at risk of developing difficulties has gone down, from 4.8 per cent in 2003 to 3.6 per cent in 2007. “I’m pleased to see that the majority of Nova Scotians who gamble are doing so responsibly,” said Barry Barnet, Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. “That said, I continue to be concerned about those people who are having problems. We have a provincial Gaming Strategy and we’re working on many initiatives to reduce the harm gambling brings to these individuals and their families.” According to the study, lottery draws, instant tickets and charity raffles are the most popular gambling activities. Age is a factor, with younger adults being most at risk. In the 19- to 24-year-old age group, 7.8 per cent are at risk of developing problems. The risk for problem gambling declines with age. For example, 2.9 per cent of problem gamblers are in the 35 to 44 age range. In terms of money spent gambling, problem gamblers spend $6,414 per year on average compared with $2,256 for at risk gamblers and $458 for no risk gamblers. Results for individual gambling products are also included in the study. Use of VLTs is down from 19 per cent in 2003 to 14 per cent in 2007. Casino slots gambling is down from 22 per cent in 2003 to 16 per cent in 2007. About 1.6 per cent of adults have engaged in Internet gambling. Daily ticket lotteries gained popularity, with the number of adults purchasing tickets doubling to 13.8 per cent. “The number Nova Scotians who are at risk of developing an addiction to gambling is down. The results are telling us that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Mr. Barnet. “They’re also showing us where we need to focus our efforts. We’ll continue to implement our Gaming Strategy, working with community partners, district health authorities, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation and others to further lower problem gambling rates.” The Department of Health Promotion and Protection has invested $4.3 million in prevention and treatment this year alone, in addition to investments by other government departments and agencies. Initiatives include: “We know there are some Nova Scotians who are at risk, who may already have a problem, or know someone with a problem,” said Mr. Barnet. “We are committed to ensuring those individuals know there is help available and where to get it so they can make informed choices for themselves and their families.” District health authorities are also working to reduce problem gambling in their communities using a number of innovative programs. South West Health targeted junior high youth through a two-hour program called Get Your Game On. The program was delivered to 285 students in Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby counties. After participating, 66 per cent of students said they thought differently about gambling and 89 per cent of teachers agreed it was effective in meeting its intended goals. “Engaging youth early is important,” said John Moore, director of addiction services for South West Health. “This program arms them with valuable knowledge and helps them develop critical thinking about gambling in their lives and communities. We’re very pleased with the success so far and we look forward to expanding the program to other schools.” This is the fourth Nova Scotia Gambling Prevalence Study. Other studies were conducted in 1993, 1996 and 2003. The 2007 study involved telephone surveys with 2,500 Nova Scotians between October and December 2007. The study is available on the department’s website at . funding to hire more prevention and treatment staff in the district health authorities more accessible resources for those experiencing problems a campus awareness and education program for post-secondary students in most universities and colleges in Nova Scotia two provincial marketing campaigns, with calls to the problem gambling help line increasing as a resultlast_img read more