Comment 82778

By Good Godfrey (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 18:53:05 in reply to Comment 82776

Williams, R.J. & Wood, R.T. (2004) The Proportion of Gaming Revenue Derived from Problem Gamblers: Examining the
Issues in a Canadian Context, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 4(1), 33-45,


"It is our belief that the most meaningful figure is the proportion of revenue derived from problem gamblers averaged across all jurisdictions: 23.1%. If our observed average prevalence rate of 4.2% is indeed correct, then problem gamblers report a proportion of expenditure that is more than five times their proportion among the Canadian population....

It is also important to note that the percentage of gross gaming revenue that provincial governments redirect to prevention and treatment of problem gambling (.3 − 1.2%; Azmier, 2001) is a very small fraction of the gaming revenues generated by problem gamblers. Although expressed need for treatment is also important in determining resource allocation, expressed need is typically influenced by treatment quality and availability. On the basis of our findings, it is our contention that the amount of money devoted to prevention and treatment of problem gambling (and research on how to best accomplish this) needs to be increased so as to be more proportionate to the amount of gaming revenue this segment of gamblers generates.

There is little doubt that much government gaming revenue is used to fund the creation and maintenance of important social infrastructure. Moreover, gaming revenue can play an important role in reducing government debt. Such benefits of government gaming revenue, however, cannot be evaluated in isolation from potential problems linked to government-sponsored gambling in Canada. In particular, if government-sponsored gambling is to maintain any moral legitimacy, it is crucial to have an understanding of the extent to which government gaming revenue is generated by people who may have serious gambling problems and addictions."


Alcoholics account for a roughly equal share of the Canadian population as problem gamblers, by estimates: 4%. Those good and generous souls are responsible for an outsized share of LCBO revenue, which of course helps pay for "schools, hospitals, roads and important social programs and major capital projects." They are also an outsized weight on the system.

CBC, 2008:

$18 billion = Total sales at beer and liquor stores in Canada in the fiscal year ending March 2007, a five per cent increase from the previous year.

$667 = The amount, on average, each Canadian spent on alcohol in 2007.

$463 = The amount that alcohol abuse costs every Canadian a year, in lost productivity, health-care costs and crime-related costs, according to a 2008 study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The responsible thing to do would be to allocate two-thirds of LCBO revenue to offset the pernicious effects of alcohol abuse. Somehow I imagine that the numbers are more in line with the OLG's nominal "prevention and treatment" program. It's probably slightly higher: At least a drunk generally won't get served in a bar or an LCBO, whereas a problem gambler will have a limo sent to pick him up and have a room comped until the poor mark's bank has been drained.

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