Overview of Positive and Negative Gambling Effects

In this chapter, it was demonstrated that Canadians perceive many impacts of gambling, both positive and negative. It is logical to assume that opinions about gambling will get stronger the closer respondents are to the harms and benefits.

The harms of gambling can have strong individual-level impact, and it is not surprising that these harms generate concerns among respondents. Despite the strongly voiced concerns, gambling is seen as acceptable activity. This may be because only 7% of Canadians indicate personal harm from gambling. Despite negative opinions about the consequences of gambling, the actual harm caused by gambling remains distant for most respondents.

The benefits of gambling, unlike the harms, tend to be community-level (e.g., tourism, jobs). These benefits tend to generate fewer strongly held positions, but for the vast majority of Canadians not directly impacted by gambling, the PERCEPTION of benefit plays a role in establishing the overall acceptability of gambling.