Determining socio-economic impacts of new gaming venues in four lower mainland communities: Socio-economic issues and impacts

Abstract

Casino style gambling has been expanding rapidly over the last decade in Canada. The opening of four gaming venues in the Lower Mainland (two new facilities and adding slot machines into two existing facilities) created an opportunity to study the impacts of new gaming facilities. Executive Summary The purpose of the study is to learn what, if any, economic and social costs and benefits emerge over time from the creation and operation of these four new venues. Its intent is to inform planning processes by the provincial government and other stakeholders. The study is being done in three waves. This report looks at the social and economic impacts. Since the Baseline Report a number of observations have been noted: Relatively small impact on overall gambling behaviour among the public in terms of frequency of play, type of game played, and expenditures. Acceleration of the already changing patterns of gambling play and expenditures reflecting national trends. Some decrease in the incidence of reported external gambling activities. Increased convenience for persons wishing to gamble. This is especially true in the Fraser Valley, where many patrons were first time gamblers. The new venues were used by the majority of gamblers who gamble in moderation. The venues contributed to a redistribution of gambling expenditures, especially in Vancouver. This constitutes an economic issue that will need to be examined more closely in the next wave. Slight increase in negative attitudes about the harms of gambling for society. No significant change of the general prevalence of problem gambling in any community. The final wave of data collection will take place in November 2006.

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