1 in 5 Ontario gamblers have a gambling blind spot

New Responsible Gambling Council Research sheds light on Ontario gambling attitudes and behaviour

TORONTO, May 5 /CNW/ - New findings by the Responsible Gambling Council show that Ontarians are very knowledgeable at recognizing problematic gambling behaviour in others, but fall short when it comes to identifying their own potentially risky behaviour when gambling.

The survey* (fielded by Ipsos-Reid) shows that 92% of Ontario adults could recognize at least one risky gambling behaviour in someone else. But when reflecting on their own gambling experience, one in five gamblers report that they have engaged in at least one of these risky behaviours themselves in the past 12 months. These `blind spots' could - if left unchecked and ignored - lead to a potential gambling problem.

The three most common blind spots reported were: spending a lot more money on gambling than intended (13%); losing track of time while gambling (12%); and trying to win back gambling losses (11%). Gamblers were less likely to identify these signals as risky gambling behaviour than the overall population.

"Experiencing any of these blind spots at one time doesn't necessarily add up to a gambling problem," says Jon Kelly, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council. "The important thing is, if you see a number of these blind spots in your life, or in the life of someone you care about, give yourself a reality check. In Toronto, an estimated 68,200 people are experiencing a moderate to severe gambling problem. RGC wants people in Toronto to check their blind spot now - to avoid a problem in the future."

"A gambling problem isn't something that suddenly appears," explains Paula Antoniazzi, Program Director, Responsible Gambling Council. "In our research, people with firsthand experience with a gambling problem have told us, 'I didn't see it coming.' There are usually early warning signs that can tip you off to a potential problem."

Toronto residents can access local help at Problem Gambling Service, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at 416-599-1322 or by calling the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-230-3505. For more information about potential gambling blind spots, local Within Limits events and problem gambling resources, visit: www.checkyourblindspot.ca.

    
    Early Warning Signs
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Kelly says RGC research identified six blind spots, or behaviours that, if left unchecked and ignored, could, in some cases, lead to a problem in the future:

Often spending more money than you intended

Check Your Blind Spot: Decide how much money you can afford to lose before you play. When you reach that limit - it's time to call it a day.

Losing all track of time when you gamble

Check Your Blind Spot: RGC suggests deciding how much time you can afford to spend gambling. When you hit that limit - quit.

Gambling with money needed for essentials like groceries or rent

Check Your Blind Spot: RGC experts recommend only using money you've set aside for entertainment. Never use money for necessities like rent, groceries or bills.

Having few interests outside of gambling

Check Your Blind Spot: Keep your life balanced with other activities - don't look at gambling as your only source of entertainment.

Hiding your gambling from family or friends

Check Your Blind Spot: Ask yourself why you feel it's necessary to hide this information. Are you spending too much time or money gambling? Are there other blind spots you're not seeing?

Trying to win back money that you've lost

Check your Blind Spot: Never chase losses: If you lose money, never try to get it back by going over your limit. This usually leads to even bigger losses.

    
    Responsible Gambling Council
    ----------------------------
    

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent, non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention. RGC designs and delivers highly effective awareness programs. Through the RGC Centre for the Advancement of Best Practices, the Council also promotes the identification and adoption of best practices in problem gambling prevention.

The Responsible Gambling Council gratefully acknowledges the Government of Ontario for its support of Within Limits.

* The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted between March 26-30, 2010, on behalf of Responsible Gambling Council. For this survey, a national sample of 817 adults living in Ontario from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Ontario been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

SOURCE RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING COUNCIL

For further information: or further information: To coordinate interviews, please contact: David Weinstein, Meghan Rose or Debra Quinn at Strategic Objectives, Tel: (416) 366-7735, Toll Free: 1-866-366-7733, Fax: (416) 366-2295, Email: davidw@strategicobjectives.com

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RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING COUNCIL

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