BC PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: COMMENT ON GAMBLING EXPANSION

VANCOUVER, April 1 /CNW/ - Committed to promoting mental health in BC communities, the BC Psychological Association would like to address the current proposal put forth for a Casino expansion in downtown Vancouver:

Registered Psychologists in BC use proven and effective treatments to treat mental health difficulties such as Pathological Gambling, allowing individuals to experience renewed quality of life.  Pathological Gambling is a mental disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is characterized by constant preoccupation with gambling and the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to experience the same levels of excitement as in the past.  These and other problematic symptoms and behaviours may persist despite repeated attempts to stop and despite increasing risk to an individual's finances, relationships and health and well-being.

Registered Psychologists are committed to health prevention efforts that improve the mental health of British Columbians.  In looking to research, we see that few definitive conclusions can be drawn about the long term effects of increased exposure to casinos on public health.  Studies do suggest that increased exposure leads to increased gambling behaviour and a willingness by individuals to risk an increased amount of money.  Studies also suggest that exposure to gambling is associated with some negative health outcomes in all age groups, though it is also associated with positive health outcomes, including increased socialization, in older adults.  While more research must be done, what is clear is that there remains a portion of the population for which gambling becomes an addictive behaviour with multiple consequences on health, well-being, and financial status.

The BC Psychological Association would encourage the Government of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver to exercise caution regarding the potential for serious impact of expanded gambling on individuals, families and communities in BC.  Continued support of psychological treatment and health prevention efforts to address this and other mental health problems needs to remain a priority.

ABOUT BCPA:

With over 700 members across British Columbia we represent a major, valuable resource. Since 1938, the BCPA has represented psychologists in British Columbia. It is a voluntary body and is committed to advancing the delivery and availability of Psychological Services along with promoting the psychological well being of all British Columbians.

SOURCE British Columbia Psychological Association

For further information:

Rebecca Smith
Executive Director
#204-1909 West Broadway,
Vancouver, BC V6J 1Z3
Ph: 604-377-5277
Fx: 604-730-0502
Email: rs.bcpa@telus.net

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British Columbia Psychological Association

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