There are about 11,000 people in Niagara Falls who suffer from a certain level of a gambling addiction.
According to Greg Eaton, a team lead at the Responsible Gambling Council, many of these people are not aware of the fact or find that they have a problem with their gambling habits too late. Over the past week, a team of the Responsible Gambling Council has visited the casinos and bingo halls in the region.
As explained by Mr. Eaton, the idea of these visits had been to have a “healthy dialogue” with people not only about being careful and keep themselves safe while gambling, but also focus on making them more aware of the signs of problem gambling behavior. The Responsible Gambling Council’s team lead further noted that these signs could be different, including anxiety, frustration or guilt, and reminded that a lot of people are used to lying when it comes to their gambling habits.
A recent CBC report found that Canadian people spent a breathtaking amount of CA$13 billion on forms of legal gambling, including casinos, lotteries, bingos and racetrack betting. A research has also found that most people are normally able to handle their gambling and limit both their time spent in gambling and their expenditures, but approximately 3.4% face a “moderate to severe problem” with their gambling habits.
Connecting Problem Gamblers and Professional Help Is Important
As also revealed by Mr. Eaton, at the Responsible Gambling Council’s stop at Niagara Falls-based Delta Bingo and Gaming last Saturday, the crew was able to speak with players and provide them with more information on responsible gambling and prevention of gambling-related harm.
The organization’s team was able to learn more details about people’s gambling habits. Mr. Eaton confirmed that it is not always the gamblers themselves who spot the problem. He shared that there are also a lot of people who do not necessarily face problem gambling behavior themselves but they are dealing with the negative impact of someone else’s gambling addiction. Usually, these are family members of compulsive gamblers whose loved ones are experiencing difficulties to control their gambling habits.
The major goal of the Responsible Gambling Council has been to create a connection between such people and support services in the region in order to provide them with professional assessment and treatment.
Over the past few years, the amount spent on gambling activities by Canadians has increased. On the other hand, gambling addiction rates in the country have also been rising due to constantly expanding gambling opportunities and easier access to such services both off- and online. Some charity organizations have shared their concern with this trend, saying that more people are both directly and indirectly affected by gambling-related harm, with these people being problem gamblers themselves and their families.