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 5:00 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

First Tears to Hope Relay Run to Terrace for MMIWG

Over 50 participants are running the Highway of Tears from both Prince Rupert and Smithers

Antique window destroyed during latest break-in at George Little House

“I feel like I let the house down,” says manager

First dedicated rugby field in northern B.C. opens in Terrace

The Northmen Rugby Club held the ribbon-cutting celebration

Terrace’s first licensed marijuana store opens

KJ’s Best Cannabis will sell cannabis, pre-rolled joints and oils for customers

Under pressure: SD82 takes heat over principal reassignments

School district hears demands during packed board meeting in Terrace

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read