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Gambling is a controversial practice among societies not only in Canada but also across the world. In the past few years, government-operated gambling has expanded steadily in Canada and more specifically in Ontario. For example, statistics show the gambling revenue has been reaching over $5.7 billion on annually basis. Notably, although many people in Canada participate in gambling without showing signs of harm, a good percentage of gamblers; about 3.4% have reflected financial injuries as a consequence of depending on gambling for a livelihood. . Critical to note is that gambling is addictive, just like alcohol and the resulting individual and social costs are significant. In this respect, those that are addicts or misuse the value of gambling experience undesirable consequences while others who participate wisely in gambling can make sound use of it. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In the above scenario, governments have one of the biggest roles to play to control the negative social and economic impacts of gambling. One way of monitoring the effects of gambling by governments is by enacting policies. However, the expansion of legalized gambling in the society is one of the issues that pose different challenges for policy makers. In respect to policy making in gambling, the responsibility of the state in addressing pathological and problem gambling, as well as the regulation and legal status of Internet gambling, are some of the key issues that need to raise concern. The following essay will seek to discuss the state’s policy on the issue of gambling. The paper emphasizes that although gambling has played a critical role in economic development, the government need to ensure that its negative impacts on individuals and the society are minimized.
A Brief History of Gambling in Canada
Apparently, in Canada, gambling has become one of the more accepted as well as integral recreational and leisure activities. Currently, within the regulations of the territorial and provincial governments, gambling options in Canada have become more available through private operators that are licensed by the government, charities, as well as through the Canadian aboriginal people of the First Nations. The widespread acceptance of gambling in Canada started in 1969 after the Criminal Code was changed to allow the territories and provinces to raise funds for some of the worthwhile social causes by regulating lotteries. For instance, the Montreal Olympics was able to receive funding from such lotteries. Due to the foundation that was laid in more than half a century ago, lotteries have become some of the biggest moneymakers for both territorial and provincial governments of Canada. Consequently, government regulated gambling has since recorded tremendous growth to include ticket lotteries, charitable gaming (including bingo), horse racing, video lottery terminals (VLTs), and casino-style gambling. However, not all these forms of gambling are available everywhere in Canada. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
As noted above, all legal gambling in Canada is controlled by territories and provinces. Thus the types of gambling available may different across the country. Critical to note is that there is some amount of illegal gambling that goes on in Canada through non-government-regulated video gaming, lottery machines, private betting houses, and online gambling, which has ongoing poise challenges to the authorities in Canada.
The study has shown that casino gambling in Canada is one of the most appealing aspects for visitors. Statistics show that more than one hundred casinos are operated in Canada. In fact, some of the casinos in Canada such as the sumptuous Manoir Richelieu or Mont-Tremblant in Quebec are in picturesque parts of the country and have lured visitors not only for the prospects of winning or losing money for other merits as well such as shopping and resting areas.
On the same breath, the age requirement for an individual getting into Canadian casinos corresponds to the age of drinking allowed in Canada but varies by territory and province. In this respect, one must be nineteen years to enter a Canadian casino in every part of the country except in Manitoba, Quebec, and Alberta whereby the appropriate age in these provinces is age eighteen. At the same time, the age limits aforementioned are also applicable to entrance in theaters and restaurants within casinos.
The Problems with Problem gambling that need Government’s policy.
Although there have been different social and economic benefits that are associated with gambling, the study has shown that there are also many gamblers that are facing various problems. A closer look at the effects of gambling in the society has also indicated some social problems, which have been outlined below. According to recent estimates, in Ontario, there are more than 300,000 people who are experiencing moderate to severe problems with gambling which explains that problem gambling can lead to serious adverse consequences for the individual with a gambling problem. At the same time, gambling problem can also have severe negative impacts on community, friends, family members, government, and gaming providers, thus increasing the number of social entities that are affected by this problem.
As earlier mentioned, gambling problem affects people at an individual. Admittedly, those people that struggle with a gambling problem have often been experiencing emotional, financial, social, and health consequences besides work related and legal problems in life. The issue of gambling means that house rent can go unpaid while mortgage payments default. Evidently, many people have lost homes while others experience, the decimation of personal and retirement savings as well as the loss of funds for post-secondary education, job loss, family breakdown, and much more. Research studies have shown that problem gambling has been associated with a range of health issues and disorders such as personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. Other related matters associated with problem gambling in Canada and many parts of the world include poor general health, alcohol, drug abuse, nicotine dependence, bankruptcy, personal debt, legal troubles, job loss and reduced work productivity, extreme cases such as suicidal behavior and ideation.
According to Canadian Community Health Survey, in Canada, the level of problem gambling risk increases while leading to the significant decreases of health. The study showed that as the severity of the problem gambling increase, the likelihood of having a psychological disorder also increase especially on the major depression, antisocial personality disorder, phobias and panic disorders. The research also demonstrated that more than seventy-eight percent of those with a gambling problem, experienced mood disorder at some points in their lives in comparison to only twenty-five percent of people in the control group. Notably, it is approximated that more than twenty percent of people with gambling problems have attempted suicide in their life, which is a higher rate compared to any other addictive disorder. On the same breath, individuals with this problem of gambling are likely to abuse alcohol including smoking four times on daily basis compared to the non-problem gamblers. Further, these people are also likely to have problems with illicit drugs twice as those free from problem gambling.
On the other hand, family break ups have been highly reported in those families where one of the partners or members is experiencing gambling problem. Research has shown that individuals with gambling problems are six times more likely to experience divorce compared to non-problem gamblers. On the same note, in more extreme cases, some gamblers who have completely lost control have decided to turn into crime to support the gambling addiction. In a study conducted by Robert Ladouceur, more than thirty percent of gamblers who have experienced severe gambling problem have reported stealing from their employers. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Family, relatives, and friends are undergoing untold painful experiences, directly and indirectly, due to gambling problems. The financial difficulties and health issues related to gambling cost families including children. The emotional, financial, and social torture that some parents undergo due to gambling is incredible. In a study by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), one in nine Ontario residents reported to have been negatively affected by someone else is gambling, which translates to approximately over one million people in Ontario, thus calling for government intervention.The Importance of Government’s Policy
Although the government has played a critical role in coming up with legal frameworks to control gaming, there is a big gap that needs to raise some sense of concern. For example, it would be prudent if social license of gambling were imposed to those with gambling business. The problem with gambling issued in the society is that many negative impacts are affecting families and the entire social fabric. In this way, besides getting the standard business license, those with gambling companies who continue collecting revenue from the same society they affect should have the ‘social license’ for conducting their business. Consequently, they must be forced to have public support before starting their businesses. The license issued must come with conditions including the high risk mitigation programs have been put in place.
Further, in the context of public health, the government should apply the “healthy public policy” where the health of those with a gambling problem will be catered. The policy will be instrumental in seeking to prevent as well as mitigating gambling-related harm, protecting the high-risk and most vulnerable populations, and promoting healthy choices.
About the above brief analysis, it is clear that although gambling has both social and economic benefits, it has led to different problems such health risks and family break-ups. Therefore, the government has the role of ensuring that gambling related policies are not only implemented but also enact new policies to reduce the impacts of problem gambling on the society.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Gambling Policy Framework, Toronto: CAMH, 2011.
Doughney, James, The Poker Machine State, Melbourne: Common Ground Publishing, 2002, Chapter 1: Introduction, 1-11 & Chapter 9: Policy and Recommendations, 163-172 (on 2Hour Reserve at Weldon Library).
Pavalko, Ronald M., ‘Gambling and Public Policy,’ Public Integrity 6.4, 2004, 333-348.
Poulin, Christiane, ‘Gambling,’ Canadian Medical Association Journal 175 (10), 2006,
Tepperman, Lorne, and Kristy Wanner, Problem Gambling in Canada, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2012, Chapter 1: Gambling: Its Pleasures and Costs, 1-14 & Chapter 10: Great Gambling Debate, 168-182 (on 2-Hour Reserve at Weldon Library).
Wolff, Jonathan, Ethics and Public Policy, London: Routledge, 2011, Chapter 2: Gambling, 3760.
. Tepperman, Lorne, and Kristy Wanner, Problem Gambling in Canada, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2012, Chapter 1: Gambling: Its Pleasures and Costs, 1-14 & Chapter 10: Great Gambling Debate, 176-79 (on 2-Hour Reserve at Weldon Library).