A Cautionary Tale: Ontario Boomers Get a Gambling Reality Check



    Responsible Gambling Council: March is Problem Gambling Prevention Month

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - March is Problem Gambling Prevention Month, and
the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is encouraging Ontario Boomers to give
themselves a reality check to help ensure that occasional gambling today,
won't become a problem in the future as they transition into retirement.
    "We're encouraging Boomers to learn about the risks now, because it's
easier to prevent a problem than it is to overcome one," explains Jon Kelly,
CEO, Responsible Gambling Council.

    
    RGC Estimates 2.1% of Ontario Adults 55+ have a Gambling Problem
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Kelly says that while the incidence of problem gambling for adults 55+ is
actually lower than the general population, Boomer gambling problems could
have a far-reaching impact simply due to the sheer numbers in this cohort.
    In fact, the Council estimates that by 2020 -- if the incidence of
problem gambling among adults 55+ remains consistent -- close to 100,000
Ontario seniors and their families could be affected by gambling problems, an
increase of 42% over today's number of almost 67,000 older adults with a
gambling problem.
    Terry Finn, Chair, Responsible Gambling Council knows how devastating a
gambling problem can be. "When you have most of your work life ahead of you,
you're more likely to recover from the loss. I know from firsthand experience,
at 49 or 59, recouping your life savings just got a lot harder. When you are
60 and older, the challenge is even greater," says Finn.

    
    What Boomers Need to Know
    -------------------------
    
    In focus groups held across Ontario, RGC talked to older adults and their
families who had firsthand experience of a gambling problem. They had five
gambling realities that Boomers need to know about now to avoid a problem in
the future:

    Understand the risks: When you're going through a life transition, like
retirement, it's easy to lose your bearings or feel out of place and gambling
can fill a void. Be aware of how much time you spend gambling and know that
the more frequently you gamble, the greater the risk of developing a problem.

    Plan ahead: Take advantage of the extra time that comes with retirement:
plan activities, hobbies or small business ideas or whatever route you choose
to keep life active and interesting.

    If you choose to gamble, keep it low-risk: No matter what age you are,
the principles of safe gambling are always the same. Here are some examples:
set limits and stick to them, don't gamble when you are upset, stressed or
depressed, only use money you can afford to lose and don't borrow money to
gamble.

    Keep your life balanced with different activities: Don't look at gambling
as your only source of entertainment.

    Take stock of your gambling: Every once in a while, give yourself a
gambling reality check to make sure you aren't gambling in a high-risk way.

    For more information, resources and for a full schedule of Within Limits:
Problem Gambling Prevention Month activities and events, please visit
www.responsiblegambling.org.

    
    Focusing Community Attention
    ----------------------------
    
    Within Limits: Problem Gambling Prevention Month is an awareness program
designed to provide people who choose to gamble with information to make
informed decisions. Within Limits focuses community attention on: the risks of
problem gambling, ways to limit those risks, realistic expectations of winning
and losing and where to get help if you have a problem.

    
    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.




For further information:

For 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:
mrose@strategicobjectives.com or dquinn@strategicobjectives.com

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RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING COUNCIL (ONTARIO)

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