Gambling Connection with Canadian Quality of Life and Crimes

Income appears to affect perceptions of this issue, with lower income respondents more likely to strongly agree that increased gambling leads to increased crime. Of those respondents with incomes less that $30,000, 42% indicated strong agreement with the link. Non-gamblers also had strong feelings on this subject as 42% of those who have not gambled in the last 12 months strongly agree with the gambling and crime link.

QUALITY OF LIFE IMPACT
Perhaps the best overall measure of gamblingÕs impact on the individual and communities relates to quality of life. This measure can encapsulate both tangible (e.g., revenues, jobs, number of problem gamblers) and intangible (e.g., entertainment value, right to play, harm to the families) factors in a single measure of gambling’s impact. The individual subjective nature of the quality of life measure personalizes the gambling issue and requires respondents to provide a response that moves beyond perceptions toward personal value judgements. To address this issue in the simplest manner, the survey asked respondents to agree or disagree whether “gambling has improved the quality of life in (province).” A very low 14% agree (3% strongly agreeing) that the quality of life has improved as a result of gambling, while 68% indicate that gambling has not improved the quality of life in their communities (Figure 37). This was by a substantial margin the lowest level of agreement on any question on the survey.

The stark nature of these data warrant careful consideration. It appears that arguments about the right to gamble, the entertainment value of the games, and employment benefits have nearly no impact on respondents’ quality of life assessment. Clearly, when it comes to quality of life, the negative aspects of gambling merit the most consideration in forming the attitudes of Canadians. Some interesting findings on the quality of life issue include:

— knowing a problem gambler does not significantly alter perceptions of the effect of gambling upon the quality of life; 13% of those who know a problem gambler agree that gambling IMPROVES the quality of life in their province, while 14% of those that do not know a problem gambler agree gambling improves quality of life.

— of those respondents who strongly agree that gambling is acceptable, the plurality (27%) strongly disagree that gambling improves quality of life. These data suggest that respondents do not link the acceptability of gambling to quality of life.

— lower income respondents (less than $30,000 per year) are more likely to strongly disagree (44%, 70% disagreed overall) that gambling has improved quality of life.

— respondents who have gambled in the last year are only more likely to agree that gambling improves quality of life (16% agree, 3% strongly agreeing). The strong majority of gamblers disagree that gambling improve quality of life (64% disagree, 35% strongly disagreeing).

FIGURE 37: DO YOU AGREE THAT: “gambling has improved the quality of life in (province)”
Strongly Agree – 3%
Somewhat Agree – 11%
Neither – 15%
Somewhat Disagree – 29%
Strongly Disagree – 39%