Online gambling shines light on youths in B.C.

A study released last month that surveyed more than 10, 000 students from three provinces found that 42 per cent had participated in online gambling.

The study didn’t include students from British Columbia but the B.C. government says it “takes problem gambling seriously,” said Jamie Edwardson, spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance.

In an emailed statement to the Voice, Edwardson said the government released in February 2015 that focused on four main themes, including problem gambling prevention among youth.

“As part of those commitments, BCLC and government are doing additional research on the prevalence and impact of online gambling,” said Edwardson, noting the government has yet to review the study conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Waterloo.

The study surveyed 10, 035 students in grades 9 to 12, age 13 to 19 and found that of those who participated in online gambling, the games included sports pooling, Internet slot machines and Internet poker. Most of the students were not of legal age to gamble, the study said.

The students were from Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.


“A substantially high proportion of young people are gambling in general, and mostly in unregulated forms, like in a dare or a game of pool, which are accessable to youth,” said Tara Elton-Marshall, one of the lead researchers of the study, in a press release.

The study mentions British Columbia as one of the four provinces that engages with legal online gambling services, such as British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow, an online service that operates on mobile phone apps as well.


*image from Starlight Casino via BCLC


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