May 26,

Proposed Casino Could Double the Number of Problem Gamblers

March 4, 2013 –  Health Unit to Present Public Health Costs of Increased Gaming Access to Mar 5 Public Consultation Forum

According to the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, the number of problem gamblers locally could double should a new casino come to Peterborough.

“There are a number of long-term social and public health costs associated with greater access to Electronic Gaming Machines and live gaming tables, such as increased prevalence of problem gamblers and greater alcohol use, especially among at-risk populations,” said Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Medical Officer of Health.  “Evidence tells us that ultimately the adverse effects of casinos far outweigh the benefits, especially when we consider the ripple effects faced by problem gamblers and the people in their lives including divorce, family breakdown, compromised child development through neglect and poverty, lost productivity and job loss.”

Research shows that prevalence rates for problem gamblers doubled in Niagara Falls the year following the introduction of a new casino, from 2.2% to 4.4%.  The prevalence rate leveled off after a year or two once the casino lost its novelty. Assuming that Peterborough would see a doubling of the rates of 3.6% to 7.2%, it would result in an additional 3,984 residents becoming problem gamblers, bringing the estimated total to 7,969.  In 2012, only 49 local problem gamblers sought treatment through FOURcast, a local addictions treatment service in Peterborough, representing 1% of the estimated number of problem gamblers in the community.  This percentage is consistent with the research that shows that only 1 to 2% of problem gamblers seek treatment.

During her presentation to the public consultation session on March 5, Dr. Pellizzari will share the latest research used to predict the costs of problem gambling to our community for City Council’s consideration.  It is estimated that every problem gambler costs our systems between $20,000 and $56,000 annually. That translates to an anticipated financial burden to the province and the Peterborough community in the range of $79.7 million to $223.2 million annually. 

To receive a full copy of this report, please contact Monique Beneteau, Health Promoter, Peterborough County-City Health Unit at 705-743-1000, ext. 309 or mbeneteau@pcchu.ca .

For audio clips see:

Dr. Rosana Pellizari, Problem Gambling (Clip 1)
Dr. Rosana Pellizari, Problem Gambling (Clip 2)
Dr. Rosana Pellizari, Problem Gambling (Clip 3)

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For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391

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