Replication of low-risk gambling limits using Canadian provincial gambling prevalence data

Abstract

A set of low-risk gambling limits were recently produced using Canadian epidemiological data on the intensity of gambling behavior and related consequences. The empirically derived limits (gambling no more than two to three times per month, spending no more than 501–1000CAN per year or no more than 1% of gross income spent on gambling) accurately predicted risk of gambling-related harm after controlling for other risk factors. The present study sought to replicate these limits on data collected in three independently conducted Canadian provincial gambling surveys. Dose-response curves and logistic regression analyses were applied to gambling prevalence data collected in surveys conducted in 2001–2002 within the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario (combined sample N = 7,675). A comparable dose-response relationship between gambling intensity and risk of harm was found in each province. The optimal thresholds for defining an upper limit of low-risk gambling were similar across the three provinces despite variations in the availability and organization of legalized gambling opportunities within each region. These results provide additional evidence supporting the validity of the low-risk gambling limits. Quantitative limits could be used to augment existing responsible gambling guidelines.

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