Gamb-ling: Problem gambling information – What is Problem Gambling?


 Problem Gambling

 A person has a gambling problem when he/she loses control over their gambling, spending more and more time and money.  It is a problem when it:

  • Hurts financially
  • Causes problems with family or friends
  • Gets in the way of work, school or other activities
  • Harms mental or physical health


 Problem Gambling Facts

95% of the population have been involved in gambling are healthy when it comes to gambling however,

5% of the population are problem gamblers, and

1% of the 5% are compulsive/pathological gamblers.

Many people gamble without any problem. The vast majority of people gamble without doing any harm to themselves or others. According to the CAMH ( Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ) 1995 study, 84% of Ontario adults gamble at least once within a year, and 1/3 of the population (33%) has participated in at least 3 different forms of gambling in 1994 (Ferrir 1996).

Nevertheless, there is a sector of the population that will develop a “gambling problem” and problem gambling has a great deal in common with other addictions. Among gamblers, up to 50% have substance abuse problems. Nine to eighteen per cent of substance abusers will develop gambling problems. Substance abuse is higher among younger gamblers.

Jason Azmier, senior policy analyst with the Canada West Foundation states that is very difficult to know who is directly affected by gambling, because “it’s very much a hidden illness”.