In-person and online gambling is on the rise in North Bay, Ontario, and so are issues related to it, such as gambling addiction. In an attempt to combat the adverse effects of gambling, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit released a new campaign, “Think You’ll Win?,” on Monday, March 7, to remind people of the risks gambling carries with it.
The campaign focuses on younger generations and tackles the false beliefs surrounding gambling.
“Many people believe inaccurate information about gambling and odds,” says Justine Mallah, Community Health Promoter at the Health Unit. “Gambling is not a money-maker, and it is far less likely that you will win big than you may think. For instance, think you’ll be dealt a straight flush? You’re more likely to spot an albino deer.”
Using plain language, humor, and illustrations, the campaign aims to explain the odds of winning in a casino game and combat false yet widely held perceptions regarding the players’ actual chances. Research conducted by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit indicates that gamblers with misconceptions about gambling are more likely to face addiction. Knowing that gambling outlets are designed to make money – not lose it – can help players make better-informed decisions.
The campaign also urges people to talk about gambling, as it can be a taboo subject. This is especially important for young people, the most active group of gamblers in North Bay.
“Increased access to in-person gambling and the popularity of online gambling websites have made gambling more accessible than ever in our community,” Mallah adds. “Gambling for fun is not a problem, but when used as a tool for income, to pay off bills, or to win back money, for example, it is a problem.”
Problem gambling can have severe consequences for individuals, families, and communities. It is essential to be aware of the risks before making any decisions about gambling.
Knowing and paying attention to the warning signs of problem gambling is the first step in tackling the issue. To recognize addictive behavior, check if you or someone you know:
- Tends to lie about their gambling habits or is secretive about them
- Spends money intended for rent, utilities, and other necessities on gambling
- Engages in illegal activities to finance gambling debts
- Chases losses in an attempt to recover from gambling expenses
- Prioritizes gambling over other activities, such as spending time with friends and family
- Becomes distressed at the mention of quitting gambling or seeking help
- Repeatedly tries and fails to stop gambling
- Is overstimulated by thoughts of gambling and plans on making money from it
If you notice any of these warning signs of problem gambling, seek professional help.
Campaigns like “Think You’ll Win?” can help tackle the issue by dispersing false beliefs. The campaign has been supported by the Canadian Center for Addictions, the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline, and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.