Comment 82780

By Good Godfrey (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 19:12:54 in reply to Comment 82778

Instead of trying to restrain problem gamblers, the casinos reward them - making big losers feel like big winners and fuelling a $13.67-billion business nationwide. Problem gamblers account for one-third of revenues, studies show, and government-operated casinos could find out who they are.

Their losses are recorded on player's cards that are inserted into slots or handed to dealers.

Governments have made some efforts to curb compulsive behaviour. In Ontario, the government spent $39-million in fiscal 2009 on treatment, research and prevention of problem gambling, with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation adding a further $9.6-million on responsible-gambling initiatives (the highest figure in North America, it says). But the same year, it laid out $558-million on marketing and promotion of casinos, more than half in comps.

"There's a huge societal interest here that needs to be looked at and protected, more so than it has been up to now," said Mr. Isaacs's lawyer, Roger Yachetti. "Governments can become addicted to the income from gambling and not enough attention is paid to the evils."

In fact, 3.5 per cent of Ontario adults said in a 2006-2007 survey that they had a problem with gambling the previous year. Before casinos mushroomed in the mid-1990s, only 2.1 per cent of Ontario adults said they had a gambling problem at any point in their lives, according to research by Robert Williams, the Lethbridge co-ordinator of the Alberta Gaming Research Institute.

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