News Release Archive


A report on the prevalence of problem gambling in Nova Scotia has
been prepared for the Department of Health. Results of the report
were referred to recently by the Nova Scotia Gaming Control
Commission in its annual report.

The 1996 Prevalence Study on Problem Gambling in Nova Scotia
follows up on a 1993 report that examined, for the first time,
the prevalence rate of problem gambling in the province.

In the report, researchers looked at the current and lifetime
rates of problem gambling. The current rate is a measure of the
number of people who are problem gamblers within the last year.
The lifetime rate is a measure of the number of people who have
had a problem at some time in their life.

As defined in the report, gambling includes scratch tickets,
lotteries, bingo, charity raffles, video lottery terminals
(outside casinos), video slot machines (casinos), card games for
money (with friends, at casinos and other), dice and roulette,
sports pools, Proline-type betting, horse racing, Internet
wagering and high risk stocks.

Instant win tickets, charity raffles, bingo, 6-49 type lotteries
and video gaming involved more Nova Scotian gamblers than other
activities. Of those activities, 6-49 type lotteries involved the
most people on a regular basis (34 per cent wager or bet at least
once a week; among those who play, 41 per cent become regular

The 1996 report is based on a representative sample of the
general, adult population of the province. The data was collected
in a random telephone survey (conducted in the spring of 1996) of
801 men and women from the four health regions, using standard
and accepted methodology. The sample was made up of 51 per cent
men and 49 per cent women. There is a plus or minus two to three
per cent margin of error.

In the report, the term problem gambler is used for patterns of
gambling behaviour that compromise, disrupt or damage one's
personal, family and work life.

Some findings of the report:

*  Gambling rates are comparable across the country as 96 per
   cent of Nova Scotians have gambled at some point in their
   lives, compared to 93 per cent of Albertans (reported in 1995)
   and 92 per cent of New Brunswickers (reported in 1996).

*  52 per cent of current gamblers are occasional (have played in
   the past year) and 43 per cent are regular (play once a week
   or more).

*  Most Nova Scotians will never develop a problem with gambling.

*  3.9 per cent of adult Nova Scotians experienced problem
   gambling in the past year (1.1 per cent are considered
   pathological gamblers, with the remaining 2.8 per cent
   exhibiting less severe problems). 

*  At some point in their lives, 5.5 per cent of adults have
   experienced problems with gambling. The measure has a margin
   of error of plus or minus of two to three per cent. The 1993
   study showed 4.8 per cent of adult Nova Scotians reported
   experiencing a gambling problem at some point in their life,
   with a similar margin of error. The overall change between the
   two studies is within the margin of error for the method used
   to collect the data.

*  73 per cent of those sampled reported their largest wager as
   $25 or less.

*  21 per cent of the sample report playing video lottery
   terminals in the last year, with three per cent of that number
   playing weekly.

*  Men are more likely to be problem gamblers than women.

*  Problem gamblers are more likely to be young men, with a high
   school diploma or less, who began gaming activity at about age
   24-25, more likely through card games with friends.

*  Problem gamblers are more likely to participate in more than
   one wagering activity weekly.

*  Women who experience problems with gambling tend to have a
   higher educational level (high school or above), but lower

Gambling rates in Nova Scotia are consistent with rates across
Canada in provinces that have used the same measure. At present,
Nova Scotia is leading a national initiative to develop even
better methods of measuring problem gambling, and to develop
consistency in provincial measures.


Contact: Lori MacLean  902-424-5025

trp                    Oct. 24, 1996 - 1:50 p.m.