Doc Talk #84 – Problem Gambling



In this show Dr Dan and Jamieson discussed problem gambling.

Alberta loves gaming and spends extraordinary amounts of money on this form of entertainment. We calculated that for every man and woman over the age of 18, the average Alberta puts about $1,000 into VLT machines each year! It constitutes a significant amount of government revenue and a good chunk of this gets recycled back into the economy in the form of charitable donations.

Unfortunately for a small minority of people, harmless entertainment can become a dangerous addiction, jeopardizing their finances, social lives and general wellbeing.

Jamieson recounted his days working in a bar when he frequently saw the effects of problem gambling.

She was relieved to see her husband at the VLT, because she had assumed he was having an affair

The excellent AGLC GameSense website is a great source of advice on gaming, including information of problem gambling and highlights some of the excellent work the government is doing to mitigate the harms associated with the small number of people who become problem gamblers. It has some fantastic tools, apps and is a superb resource for promoting responsible gaming.

It is important to remember that problem gambling is an addiction and individuals have less control over it than might be obvious (the same is true for all forms of addiction, including drugs and alcohol).

If you think you might know a problem gambler, we also gave some tips on how to approach the problem and bust some myths about problem gambling.  We also discussed reasons that might people might engage in problem gambling and some potential solutions. Click on the link above to listen again and learn more.

Here are some resources that might be helpful –

GameSense – a website set up by AGLC to promote responsible gaming, tools include budget planner, understanding odds and gaming and a voluntary self-exclusion scheme

Addictions Helpline ☎ 1-866-332-2322 is available 24/7, offering free and confidential advice and support

Locally, VegAlDrug is also a great resource for all addictions, including gambling


Photo by Antoine Taveneaux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons