So we have all heard the news about how the B.C. government wants to reduce BC Ferries service on minor and major routes, cut seniors’ discounts and then test slot machines on board one of its main routes.
This would certainly expose more people to gambling than ever. People who have never considered entering a casino will be exposed to casinos. This would be a first step in the normalization of gambling. Doesn’t the government already know that casinos not only cause financial stress and hardship to the problem gambler but they also cause stress to the community?
The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that “problem gambling is overwhelmingly a hidden disorder; people with gambling problems will go to great efforts to hide their problem from others. Unlike other addictions, such as problematic drug abuse, problem gambling has no physical signs, making it much more difficult to detect. Often, a sudden and serious financial crisis is the first indication of a gambling problem.”
The B.C. Coroners Service noted a total of 34 gambling-related suicides between 2003 and 2010. In 2010, there were 10 such cases, more than double the number recorded the year before.
Casinowatch.org reports that many people who admit to gambling stated that they started off just gambling a little bit at first then the gambling budget increased. Casinowatch.org also reports that there are more people in this day and age who are addicted to gambling. Studies do suggest that increased exposure leads to increased gambling behaviour and a willingness by individuals to risk an increased amount of money. I have yet to hear that the government has increased funds in regard to educating and retaining counseling and rehab for problem gamblers. We need less gambling exposure and more healthcare.
Two Mile, B.C.