What Influences The Attitude to Canadian Gambling and Video Lottery Terminals

Curiously, Ontario respondents are the least supportive of banning VLTs (37%), and yet they live in one of only two provinces without the machines. This finding may be related to high Ontario support (73%) for restricting VLTs to casinos and racetracks.

Attitudes toward VLTs also vary with:
¥ Awareness of problem gambling. Knowing a problem gambler increases the likelihood of a respondent agreeing that VLTs should be banned (48% agree among those who know a problem gambler; 37% agree among those who do not know a problem gambler).
¥ Gender. Female respondents are more likely to agree (44%) that VLTs should be banned. Male respondents are more likely to disagree (51%) with the banning of VLTs.
¥ Age. Respondents 55 years of age and older are more likely to strongly agree (39%) with a ban on VLTs than those 18-34 (15%). Those aged 35-54 were the most likely group to agree (72%) that VLTs should be limited to casinos and race tracks.
¥ VLT usage. Respondents who have not played a VLT in the last year are more likely to agree with a ban (42%) than those who have played the machines (28%). Surprisingly, only 34% of VLT playing respondents strongly disagree with a ban on the machines and only 64% disagree overall. Similarly, a majority (55% agreeing overall, 41% strongly agreeing) of VLT players also agree that VLTs should be limited to race tracks and casinos. These data suggest that a number of VLT players themselves are willing to restrict access to the machines because of an acknowledgement of some negative element associated with the availability of the VLTs.
¥ Gambling participation. Among those who do not gamble, there is moderate support for preserving access to VLTs (32% disagree with a ban). This may be reflective of those supporting the right to gamble as well as those that want to preserve revenue from the machines.
¥ Church attendance. Respondents who attend church at least once a week are much more likely to agree that VLTs should be banned than are those who attend less frequently or not at all. In total, 60% of regular church attendees agree that VLTs should be banned (45% strongly agree with a ban). While regular church attendance and agreeing with a ban of VLTs were strongly co-related, less frequent attendance was not. Respondents who attend church less than once a month fell below the average of those wanting VLTs banned. Those who attend less than once a year or not at all are the least likely to agree with a ban on VLTs (33%).

Before leaving the VLT issue, careful consideration should be given to the implication of a large gap between public opinion related to VLTs and government policy on the machines. Given that even the VLT players favour a restriction of the machines to race tracks and casinos, public support for revised VLT legislation is likely to remain strong in many provinces.

FIGURE 11: DO YOU AGREE THAT: “video lottery gambling should be banned in (province)”
Strongly Agree / 28%
Somewhat Agree / 13%
Neither / 25%
Somewhat Disagree / 18%
Strongly Disagree / 13%