Problem gambling is a growing problem all over the globe, and Canada is not an exception. Fortunately for Canadians, there is a great framework and social programs for addressing problem gambling within all the provinces.
Problem gambling can affect anyone, even the most strong-willed individuals and can change a person's whole life. As such, it's essential to recognize and address a gambling problem early on before it manifests into a big problem.
Quick Facts Surrounding Gambling in Canada:
- Stats Canada has crunched the numbers and has deduced that Gambling is Canada's largest industry. Comparatively, it's approximately the same size as movies, TV, recorded music and professional sports COMBINED!
- On average stats show that one in five pathological gamblers will attempt suicide at some point
- More than 80% of people resident in Canada have gambled in the past year (either online or offline)
- Young people are three times more likely to develop a gambling problem than adults are
- Over 65% of young people in Canada participate in one form of gambling or another
Gambling may become a problem when it:
- Causes a problem with your friends and or family
- Damages your reputation
- Hurts you in a financial capacity
- Harms your mental or physical health
- Gets in the way of school, work or other activities you may be involved with
The risk factors for developing a gambling problem vary, but some common themes could be indicators of developing a problem gambling habit these include the following:
- At some point early on in your gambling history, you had a big win
- You have money problems that and no path to a way to fix them
- Recently you had a significant change in your life such as a recent loss or change (example: relationship problems, divorce, loss of your job, retirement or the loss of a loved one)
- You use gambling as an escape mechanism to cope with health concerns and or physical pain.
- Often you feel alone, and you use gambling as a means of socializing
- You don't have much going on in your life, and lack hobbies or have few interests, so you use gambling to fill that void
- You abuse alcohol, other substances and gambling as a means to cope with bad feelings or events
- Often you feel depressed or anxious, and you use gambling to attempt to suppress these feelings
- You believe you have the upper hand over a particular casino or casino game and as such as the development of a system to beat the house
Tips for Safer Gambling
- Before you gamble set a limit to the amount you're willing to lose and stick to it
- Set a limit to the amount of time you spend playing casino games and be sure to take frequent breaks
- Whatever you do, DO NOT borrow money to gambling.
- Only play with money that is non-essential and put side specifically for entertainment. Be sure to avoid spending money on gambling meant for groceries, your kids, etc.
- Do not allow gambling to become the core part of your life balance gambling with other activities.
- At all costs avoid chasing your losses and trying to make back lost money.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol or other substances that alter your state of mind when gambling.
Online Gambling Advice
Gambling operators licensed in reputable jurisdictions like the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Alderney, Jersey, Isle of Man or Malta require their licensees to provide a self-exclusion method.
How it works is pretty straight forward, although the process may vary from one operator to another.
Below are the steps you can take to self-exclude yourself from casinos online.
Contact the casino customer support using the details found on the casino's website.
Advise the casino that you have a gambling problem and that you'd like to voluntarily self-exclude yourself from their casino and or associated brands.
Answer any questions they may have in terms of the period of the block, etc.
Avoid signing up ad a non-affiliated casino to circumvent what you just did. The other option to consider which is something the casino can also assist you in establishing in promoting healthy gambling is to set spending limits on your account.
Following virtually the same steps as outlined above for a time based or permanent block, you may instead opt for fixed limits on the amount you can spend on the account. Advise the casino that you only want to play with a specific amount per day, week, month or year. They can establish these limits within their system so that you never exceed them.
Although the ease of access to online gambling sites is a significant benefit, many pundits argue that it leads to broader spread problem gambling-related issues. It may be accurate, but the control mechanisms in place at fully regulated online gambling establishments such as those found here on this site far outweighs those of traditional brick and mortar casinos in preventing and controlling problem gambling.
How and Where to Get Help?
Getting help with problem gambling in Canada is very straight forward and starts with recognizing that you or a loved one have a problem. The support network in Canada for the treatment and prevention of problem gambling is vast, and all you need to do is reach out. It's important to remember that you're not alone, and many people face the same problem.
Below are some well-established resources for Canadians facing problem gambling and seeking help.
Toll-Free Help Lines Across Canada Based on Province:
British Columbia: 1-888-795-6111
New Brunswick: 1-800-461-1234
Newfoundland and Labrador: 1-888-899-4357
Nova Scotia: 1-888-347-8888
Prince Edward Island: 1-888-299-8399
Toll-Free Across Canada#: 1-866-531-2600
ProblemGambling.ca provides direct help and assistance to those with a gambling problem. They also offer comprehensive self-help gambling tools for those interested in attempting to treat their addition on their own before seeking the help of professionals. Some of their most useful tools include their gambling quiz and monitoring tools, which are available on desktop and mobile devices.
Toll-Free Across Canada#: 1-855-545-3771
The Canadian Center for Additions does not focus specifically on problem gambling but instead with addition as a whole. Their approach revolves around assessing and stabilizing, recovery and aftercare for your life. Our research has shown that the Canadian Center for Additions has had a high degree of success in treating patients with addictions, whether they be gambling, alcohol or drugs.
Other Problem Gambling Resources:
- ConnexOntario - http://www.connexontario.ca/
- CAMH Treatment and Help - https://www.camh.ca/en/your-care/access-camh
- Help for Families from CAMH - https://www.camh.ca/en/your-care/planning-your-care/for-families
- Self Help Tools for Problem Gambling - https://www.problemgambling.ca/gambling-help/HomePage.aspx
- Free Tutorial on Problem Gambling Here - https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-101