How Gambling Can Influence A Canadian Personality
— younger respondents (18-34) are the most likely (24%) to indicate that they see no impact on the quality of life. Older respondents (55+) are the most likely (51%) to strongly disagree that gambling has improved the quality of life in their province.
— Prairie and Ontario respondents are most likely (17% each) to agree that gambling has improved the quality of life in their provinces (Figure 38). Interestingly, in these regions provincial lottery grant programs put over $200 million of gambling and lottery revenues back into the community. Nonetheless, at 17%, these are still minority positions.
— Atlantic respondents strongly disagree (63%, 82% disagree overall) that gambling has improved their quality of life. Quebec respondents also show high disagreement (78%), but not as strong (only 39% strongly disagreed).
To measure the strength of gambling’s impact, the survey asked respondents if, to their knowledge, they had PERSONALLY been impacted by gambling, positively or negatively. This measure is considered to be a true indicator of the harm of gambling as it asked respondents to consider only their personal experiences with gambling, not their impressions or perceptions of harm. Overall, 90% Canadians indicate that gambling has had no personal impact upon them (Figure 39). Of those who have been effected, 7% have been harmed by gambling while only 4% indicate a personal benefit.
Not surprisingly, knowing a problem gambler increases the likelihood of respondents reporting a negative personal impact. Of those that indicate knowing a problem gambler, 12% indicate that gambling has a negative personal effect. Perhaps more interesting is the 85% of those who know a problem gambler but indicate that gambling has had no impact upon them (3% even indicate gambling has had a POSITIVE impact). These data suggest that respondents who know problem gamblers are either not particularly close to the problem gambler, or do not feel the problem gambler’s activity creates personal harm.
The paucity of respondents indicating any personal impact from gambling warrants additional comment. Inferring from the 90% of respondents who have felt no impact from gambling it appears that the benefits and costs associated with gambling may be less than estimated by both gamblingÕs opponents and proponents. However, it must be restated that respondents may not be AWARE that they are harmed by the negative elements of gambling. This caveat cannot equally apply to the benefits of gambling. Personal benefits from gambling are more measurable (e.g., employment, winnings, entertainment value) and as a result more often known. While a gambler might try to hide their losses or problem, the benefits of gambling are increasingly documented and publically acknowledged by charities, governments and the gambling industry.
FIGURE 39: OVERALL PERSONAL IMPACT OF GAMBLING ON RESPONDENT
Positive Effect – 4%
No Effect – 90%
Negative Effect – 7%