Casinos linked to addiction, psychiatrist says
An addictions psychiatrist says the expansion of casinos such as the one proposed at B.C. Place increases the risk of children becoming gamblers later on in life.
According to Shao-Hua Lu, the likelihood of a person developing a gambling problem as an adult is directly related to their parents’ gambling habits.
“It’s no different from how increasing smoking exposure increases subsequent likelihood of smoking addiction,” Lu told the Straight in a phone interview.
On Tuesday (February 1), Vancouver city council will hear residents speak on a motion brought forward by Coalition of Progressive Electors councillor Ellen Woodsworth regarding a proposal to build the largest casino in the province at B.C. Place. Council will also hold a public hearing on February 17 on the project’s rezoning application.
“We’re not against gambling, but what we’re saying is we have to recognize that if we increase gambling exposure, we’re going to see more people with problem gambling,” said Lu, who speaks for the B.C. Medical Association regarding addiction issues.
A study commissioned by the B.C. Lottery Corporation and released two years ago, “Decoding British Columbian Youth and Gambling”, suggested that there is a link between a parent’s gambling activity and their child’s attitude toward and participation in gambling.
“Youth who report that their parents have gambled in the past year have a significantly higher participation in various gambling activities than youth who report that their parents have not gambled in the past 12 months,” the paper stated.
Vancouver antigambling activist Isabel Minty doubts that city hall will stop the further expansion of gambling. “The hunger for money both at the municipal level and at the provincial level seems to trump any common sense that should be exercised around gambling,” Minty told the Straight.