Not all gambling problems are obvious, says Al Antle
Counselling service says the way people gamble is changing
The executive director of the Credit Counselling Service of Newfoundland and Labrador says the number of people reporting gambling addiction isn't on the rise, but that doesn't mean people don't have a problem.
Last week, Health Minister Steve Kent said that the number of people using the various government services for gambling addictions keeps going up.
Al Antle, with the counselling group, said the actual number hasn't increased, but there's possibly an invisible problem.
"That said, there's a whole bunch of people who still report to us that they're having issues resulting from or, I guess, that are being impacted by the amount of money they spend on gaming and gambling."
Antle said a big part of the problem is the way people think about gambling and gaming.
"We are also at an interesting place in terms of beliefs and attitudes, and one thing that we have observed anecdotally is that in this province, people don't necessarily distinguish between gaming and gambling," he said.
"People who go off to the store every day to buy two litres of milk and a loaf of bread who, when they're there, spend $10 on pull tickets wouldn't necessarily see themselves as having a gambling problem, but if you spend $70 a week on pull tickets, that's $3,500 a year on pull tickets," Antle said.
"Sounds like a bit of a problem to me."
Antle added that while pull tickets are a big issue, there are still a number of people using VLTs, and online gambling has become a growing area of concern in recent years.
He said about 10 per cent of people who report to the group attribute their money problems to gambling.