Article published on 10 September 2010

Ontarians are Finding No Support for Problem Gambling

Ontarians need more support regarding problem gambling
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Since the opening of the online gambling market, the Canadian authorities have made a large profit from this industry.

When the provincial governments began legalizing casinos in the early 1990s, the operators of these institutions made a huge amount of profits.

Government run lotteries, VLTs, casinos and slots machines that were not located inside casinos saw an increase in net revenue profits - from $2.7 billion in 1992 to $13.7 billion in 2008.

Despite these huge profits, the government has been putting little of into fighting the problem of online gambling addiction.

Ontario's health ministry only spent 2% of annual slot revenues of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in 2009-2010 into fighting problem gambling. A total spent was $40.2 million.

During the fiscal year of 2007-2008 there were more than 6,000 problem gamblers who were admitted into special programs to help deal with their issues. This number has increased by a few hundred each year since.

In a worrying trend, the funding for these programs has been cut from $40.2 million last year to $28.7 this year.

The director of the New Life Counseling and Recovery Place, a center that treats problem gambling issues, said that there are simply not enough centers and programs to treat these people.

The director said: "I don't understand where the money for funding problem gamblers is going. There's nothing available and it's really difficult to get patients into in-patient programs."

"The provincial government needs to set up more short-term, in-patient programs and provide better access to treatment so patients don't get bottlenecked trying to get into these programs, and then fall through the cracks while waiting to get treatment," he continued.

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