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 9:00 a.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

Development permit issued for four-storey apartment on Dogwood Street

Proposed 63-unit building will include water conservation measures

Mark Chandler running for City of Parksville councillor

Chandler will focus on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and crime

New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

42 without homes agree to take survey on gender, age, health, length of time in community

Parksville singer to celebrate birthday with concert

Robbie Van looking to raise money for Haven Society

Mt. Washington season passholders to be the first to receive the new tech in-hand

The new hands-free tech will be in full effect for winter 2018-19

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read