Problem Gambling Facts:
- 95% of the population have been involved in gambling are healthy when it comes to gambling however,
- 5% of the population are problem gamblers, and
- 1% of the 5% are compulsive/pathological gamblers.
Many people gamble without any problem. The vast majority of people gamble without doing any harm to themselves or others. According to the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) 1995 study, 84% of Ontario adults gamble at least once within a year, and 1/3 of the population (33%) has participated in at least 3 different forms of gambling in 1994 (Ferrir 1996).
Nevertheless, there is a sector of the population that will develop a “gambling problem” and problem gambling has a great deal in common with other addictions. Among gamblers, up to 50% have substance abuse problems. Nine to eighteen per cent of substance abusers will develop gambling problems. Substance abuse is higher among younger gamblers.
Jason Azmier, senior policy analyst with the Canada West Foundation states that is very difficult to know who is directly affected by gambling, because “it’s very much a hidden illness”.
Here are some facts, according to Statistics Canada’s 2002 Mental Health and Well-being Survey (Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), Cycle 1.2):
¾ of Canadians (18.9 million) aged 15 years and over spent money on some form of gambling in 2002.
Over 1 in 4 (27%) described themselves as “regular gamblers”, playing at least once a week
Buying lottery tickets is the most popular gambling activity (65% or survey population)
The average spending on gambling by Canadians 18 years and over was $485 per person in 2002 more than a threefold increase from $130 in 1992
Approximately 62% of problem gamblers spent more than $1,000 a year in gambling.
Canadians feel that gambling is an acceptable activity that is highly supported due to the based knowledge that it is government regulated. (www.statcan.gc.ca)