News release

Problem Gambling Help Line Response Up Again

Calls requesting professional help with problem gambling have increased 60 per cent in March when compared with March last year, thanks to the Office of Health Promotion's recent radio and cable TV ads promoting the government's problem gambling help line. There were 514 calls in March 2005 compared to 321 calls in March 2004.

Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald said today, April 7, that this number clearly supports government's decision to invest an additional $3 million for more treatment resources. That decision was announced Wednesday, April 6 as part of the province's first Gaming Strategy.

"Nova Scotia has the lowest prevalence of problem gambling in the country," said Mr. MacDonald. "We are working to keep Nova Scotia in that spot through more prevention work and as we try to reduce the number of existing problem gamblers through enhanced treatment programs."

He said the increase in calls shows that gambling addicts and their families need more information about the help that is available.

"I'm very pleased to see people are taking advantage of our services," he said. "We're looking forward to having even more resources."

The incidence of problem gambling in Nova Scotia has remained stable over the past 10 years.

The most frequently mentioned reasons for calling the Help Line were to receive: resource information, counselling for a personal gambling problem, and counselling for someone else's gambling problem.

Among the enhanced treatment and prevention programs announced Wednesday were measures aimed at:

  • increasing problem gambling resources in communities;
  • developing an early identification and intervention program for at-risk players;
  • research and real-world testing to determine the best model for providing problem gamblers in Nova Scotia (a comprehensive treatment demonstration research project);
  • developing a community-based prevention program;
  • targeting education programs to youth and seniors; and
  • launching a public awareness program.

The Problem Gambling Help Line number is 1-888-347-8888.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

More callers asked for professional help with problem gambling in March of this year than in March of last year, thanks to the Office of Health Promotion's recent radio and cable TV ads promoting the government's problem gambling help line.

Figures released today (April 7th) show there were 514 calls to the help line in March 2005 compared to 321 calls in March 2004.

Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald says the figures support government's decision to invest an additional three million dollars for more treatment resources. That money was announced Wednesday (April 6th) as part of the province's first Gaming Strategy.

The Problem Gambling Help Line number is 1-888-347-8888.

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Contact:

Susan MacLeod
Health Promotion 902-424-4410 Cell: 902-222-9618 E-mail: