Other Problems Connected with Gambling in Canada
Related to knowing a problem gambler are perceptions of an increase in the number of problems related to gambling. Respondents were asked to consider whether they agree or disagree that Ògambling-related problems in (province) have increased in the last three years.Ó As Figure 30 demonstrates, a strong majority of respondents (60%) indicate that problems from gambling have increased. Only 12% of respondents disagree (3% strongly disagreeing) with this statementÐthe second lowest level of disagreement on any question in the survey.
Regional variations on this question reinforce the prevailing attitudinal trends throughout the survey. Respondents from the Atlantic region are the most likely to strongly agree (45%) that gambling problems have increased while respondents from Ontario are the least likely to strongly agree (21%). Quebec respondents, deviate somewhat from their usual pattern, as (42%) strongly agree that problems have increased.
Nationally, those indicating they knew a problem gambler are more likely to indicate that gambling problems have increased, as 45% strongly agree (73% agree overall) that gambling problems are up over the last three years. Among those with no specific knowledge of problem gamblers, the perception is still strong as 54% agree (24% strongly agreeing) that problems have increased.
It is worth noting that this question measures perceptions of increases in gambling related problems only. While the problems related to gambling may indeed be increasing, respondentsÕ opinions are likely influenced to some degree by an increase in overall awareness of problem gambling. This profile may have been enhanced by an increased media focus on problem gambling issues specifically, and gambling in general.
On balance, gambling is not seen as having a positive impact on communities (Figure 31). Only 9% of respondents feel that gambling has an overall positive impact on their community, while 24% indicate that the impact is negative (60% indicate no impact). This result suggests the positive elements of gambling do not overshadow the negative consequences. The result is also noteworthy given that a majority of Canadians view gambling as a neutral impact activity.
Regionally, the strongest support for gamblingÕs positive impact can be found in the Prairies, at 13% (see Figure 32). The strongest opinion that gambling has negative consequences on the community is found among Atlantic respondents; 42% of Atlantic respondents indicate that gambling has a negative effect and only 7% perceive a positive impact. Ontario respondents are not overly favourable nor negative toward gambling as two-thirds (67%) of respondents from this region indicate that gambling has no effect on their communities.
FIGURE 30: DO YOU AGREE THAT: “gambling-related problems in (province) have increased in the last three years”
Strongly Agree – 31%
Somewhat Agree – 29%
Neither – 9%
Somewhat Disagree – 3%
Strongly Disagree – 18%
FIGURE 31: OVERALL IMPACT OF GAMBLING ON COMMUNITIES
Positive Effect – 9%
No Effect – 60%
Negative Effect – 24%