People’s Participation and Motivation for Gambling in Canada

Ontario leads the nation in gambling participation rates, with 79% of respondents reporting gambling in the last year (Figure 1). Ontario is followed by BC (74%), the Prairies (72%), Quebec (65%) and the Atlantic region (63%). In addition to regional variations, significant variations in participation rates were found between: ¥ men (76%) and women (69%) ¥ the employed (75%) and those not employed (66%) ¥ respondents with no post-secondary degrees (71% ) bachelorÕs degrees (78%), professional degrees (86%) and those with masterÕs degrees (65%) and doctorates (60%). The most popular region of play for each game is presented in Table 3. These variations reflect both consumer taste and availability of game by area (not all types of gambling are available in all regions in Canada). Significant variations in playing habits include:
¥ higher rates of horse race gambling in the Prairies and Ontario
¥ less out-of-country casino activity in the Atlantic region and Quebec
¥ much higher break-open ticket activity in Ontario
¥ much lower rates of raffles participation in Quebec
¥ less scratch ticket gambling in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada
¥ higher rates of slot machine gambling in Ontario
¥ higher out-of-province casino activity in Ontario.

A full 27% of Canadians are “regular gamblers” at a particular game. This means they play that game at least once a week. Bingo is the game most likely to draw regular participants, followed by lotteries, card games with friends, scratch tickets, video lottery terminals and betting on games of skill. Three variables impact frequency of play: age, income and region. Frequent gamblers are more likely to be 45-64 years of age, have annual household incomes in the $30,000-$79,999 range and reside in Ontario or the Prairie provinces. Of the three, age is the strongest determinant of gambling frequency.

People gamble for different reasons. Some gamble as a social activity, others gamble for entertainment, profit, to help charities, or even to escape their lives for a moment with the dreams of something better. RespondentsÕ motivations for gambling can be grouped into five categories of response: (1) entertainment, (2) thrill of winning, (3) to donate to charity, (4) social reasons, and (5) other reasons. Overall, for all types of regulated gambling, the strongest motivator for gambling is the thrill and reward of winning; 83% of gamblers indicate that for at least one game they play, the primary motivator is the thrill of winning. The next strongest motivators are the desire to donate to charities (49%) and entertainment (43%).

Lotteries Ontario / (55.3%)
Scratch tickets / Ontario (45.0%)
Raffles Ontario / (39.8%)
Casino Ontario / (21.0%)
Slot machines / Ontario (21.5%)
Break-open tic. / Ontario (20.5%)
Bingo Ontario / (14.0%)
VLTs Prairie / (18.4%)
Out-of-coun. cas. BC / (8.2%)
Out-of-prov. cas. Ontario / (7.5%)
Card rooms Atlantic / (5.2%)
Horse racing Ontario / (5.0%)
Sport tickets Prairie / (4.6%)

Card games Ontario / (16.5%)
Sports pools Prairie / (19.1%)
Stock speculation BC / (19.2%)
Bets with friends BC / (13.7%)
Games of skill BC / (10.2%)
Internet Ontario / (0.7%)