CCSA Publishes Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on September 24, 2021 - Last Updated on October 26, 2021

As casinos began to resume operations across the country, the Canadian Centre on Substance And Addiction (CCSA) took action.

That action led to CCSA publishing new awareness guidelines intended to help Canadians understand the potential dangers of gambling.

In particular, they released Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines to promote responsible gaming and reduce the negative impact of gambling addiction.

Raising Awareness

CCSA’s Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines aim to provide evidence-informed advice on how to gamble safer.

The guidelines result from over five years of intense research conducted to help Canadians reduce gambling-related harms.

According to the CCSA’s latest guidelines, gambling enthusiasts should not:

  • wager with more than 1% of their household income for a month
  • bet for more than four days in a month
  • gamble at more than two types of games

And, as CCSA noted, for the guidelines to be effective, people must follow all three recommendations.

“Gambling is a legal activity that can pose risks to some people in Canada, including financial hardships, relationship conflicts, emotional or psychological distress, and health issues,” explains Dr. Matthew Young, CCSA senior research and policy analyst.

These guidelines will help people in Canada who gamble do so in a way that lowers their risk of experiencing these problems.

One of the reasons gamblers develop addiction is because they spend money while being away from their family or friends. Dr. Young believes that, when separated, these individuals tend to lose a lot of time gambling instead of being productive.

He emphasized that the key to beating addictive behaviour is to minimize risks and ensure sufficient support exists.

Dr. Young also co-chairs the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines Scientific Working Group that leads the project.

Problem gambling is real

When interviewed for CTV News, a certified counsellor with CCSA, Chelsea Rodrigues, pointed out the dangers of problem gambling.

As she explained, problem gambling should not be understated.

“It doesn’t matter how educated you are. It doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status. Your religion, your gender. It has no baring [sic].”

Rodrigues clarified that with casinos reopening, those who have experienced problems before might again face renewed risk.

She went on to add that her team encourages people who have previously been diagnosed with problematic or addictive gambling. Rodrigues suggests that these individuals should not dive back into old habits. Instead, they should “test the waters” first.

Rodrigues also noted those with high risks could seek therapy for compulsive gambling at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, a provider of post-acute care services in Windsor, Ontario. It’s on a one-on-one basis with a residential program and a short waiting list.

She senses that anyone can become a victim of such circumstances and urges all gamblers to expect to lose money when betting.

Another co-chair of the working group, Dr. David Hodgins, shared his opinion on the topic.

“Until now, our best advice to people who gamble was to set personal spending and time limits,” states Dr. Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary.

“We can now provide more specific direction on what these limits should be, based upon the experiences of tens of thousands of individuals.”

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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