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Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;46(5):418-21.

A profile of Canadian adults seeking treatment for gambling problems and comparisons with adults entering an alcohol treatment program.

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Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba.



To empirically describe problem gambling in the Canadian context, using a large sample of treatment-seeking adults.


We assessed 1376 Winnipeg adults seen in the problem gambling program at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) and compared them with 11,661 alcohol-program clients seen over the same 4-year time period.


Sociodemographic comparisons revealed a higher-functioning profile for individuals with gambling problems compared with those having alcohol problems (for example, higher education and income levels). Most gambling clients did not report symptoms of substance abuse, but almost 70% smoked cigarettes. The most frequent gambling activity involved the use of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in local bars and restaurant lounges. Lottery tickets, bingo, and even casinos were infrequently used by problem gamblers.


In several ways, gambling problems in the Canadian context represent a relatively novel form of addiction that many clinicians have not previously encountered. VLTs were only recently introduced in many parts of Canada, and they appear to play a large role in the expression of problem gambling. One potential reason for the popularity of neighbourhood bars over casinos or US venues is the increased availability of legalized gambling in the community.

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