Mapping the prevalence of problem gambling and its association with treatment accessibility and proximity to gambling venues

Abstract

This study examined geographic variation in the prevalence of problem gambling in Ontario and the association with various demographic factors and proximity to treatment for problem gambling and gambling venues. Drawing upon multiple sources, secondary data analysis was undertaken based on multivariate statistical methods and techniques of geographic information systems (GIS). Regional variation in prevalence of problem gambling was found in the province. Prevalence of problem gambling was associated with many demographic characteristics, as well as mental disorders, co-occurring substance abuse problems, and physical health status. Geographic access to treatment was not associated with the risk of being a problem gambler. However, proximity to gambling venues was marginally important in predicting risk of problem gambling. Results are interpreted in the context of needs-based planning of treatment and prevention programs for problem gambling.

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