Gambling and problem gambling in Canada in 2018: prevalence and changes since 2002

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Williams, Robert J.
Leonard, Carrie A.
Belanger, Yale D.
Christensen, Darren R.
el-Guebaly, Nady
Hodgins, David C.
McGrath, Daniel S.
Nicoll, Fiona
Stevens, Rhys M. G.
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Objective The purpose of this study was to provide an updated profile of gambling and problem gambling in Canada and to examine how the rates and pattern of participation compare to 2002. Method An assessment of gambling and problem gambling was included in the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey and administered to 24,982 individuals aged 15 and older. The present analyses selected for adults (18+). Results A total of 66.2% of people reported engaging in some type of gambling in 2018, primarily lottery and/or raffle tickets, the only type in which the majority of Canadians participate. There are some significant inter-provincial differences, with perhaps the most important one being the higher rate of electronic gambling machine (EGM) participation in Manitoba and Saskatchewan The overall pattern of gambling in 2018 is very similar to 2002, although participation is generally much lower in 2018, particularly for EGMs and bingo. Only 0.6% of the population were identified as problem gamblers in 2018, with an additional 2.7% being at-risk gamblers. There is no significant inter-provincial variation in problem gambling rates. The inter-provincial pattern of problem gambling in 2018 is also very similar to what was found in 2002 with the main difference being a 45% decrease in the overall prevalence of problem gambling. Conclusions Gambling and problem gambling have both decreased in Canada from 2002 to 2018, although the provincial patterns are quite similar between the two time periods. Several mechanisms have likely collectively contributed to these declines. Decreases have also been reported in several other western countries in recent years and have occurred despite the expansion of legal gambling opportunities, suggesting a degree of inoculation or adaptation in the population.
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Gambling , Problem gambling , Prevalence , Canada , Online gambling
Williams, R. J., Leonard, C. A., Belanger, Y. D., Christensen, D. R., el-Guebaly, N., Hodgins, D. C., McGrath, D. S., Nicoll, F., & Stevens, R. M. G. (2021). Gambling and problem gambling in Canada in 2018: Prevalence and changes since 2002. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 66(5), 485-494.