Interesting study about what’s happens to rates of gambling and problem gambling when a new casino opens. Jacques and Lanouceur of Laval University in Quebec looked at the rates of gambling and problem gambling in a small town of 800 in Quebec which opened a casino, compared to another small town without a casino.
Not surprisingly, there was a significant increase in gambling the year the casino opened. However, gambling dropped off by the 2 year mark, and 4 years afterwards, it was back to baseline. So people are attracted to the novelty of a casino, but lose interest as time goes by.
However, when they looked at rates of problem gambling, there was no difference between the 2 towns. They’re not sure why, other than to say that the connection between the availability of gambling and the rates of problem gambling may be more complex than we’ve thought. So GA – Gamblers Anonymous – won’t need more chairs or coffee quite yet.
Anyone have a hypothesis about why, contrary to what we’d expect, problem gambling didn’t increase??
(The complete study is published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Oct 2006.)