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Journal Information
Journal ID (publisher-id): jgi
ISSN: 1910-7595
Publisher: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Article Information
Copyright © 1999-2006 The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Received Day: 12 Month: 07 Year: 2005
Accepted Day: 22 Month: 02 Year: 2006
Publication date: April 2006
Publisher Id: jgi.2006.16.3
DOI: 10.4309/jgi.2006.16.3

Underage gambling in Ontario casinos
Edward Adlaf
Angela Paglia-Boak
Anca Ialomiteanu Affiliation: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail: Edward_Adlaf@camh.net
This article was peer-reviewed.

For correspondence: Edward M. Adlaf, PhD, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1. Phone: (416) 535-8501, x4506; fax: (416) 595-6899; e-mail: Edward_Adlaf@camh.net
Competing interests: None declared.
Contributors: EA, APB, and AI worked equally on data analysis and writing this report.
Ethical approval: In 2004 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Research Ethics Board
Funding: EA, APB, and AI are employed at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Edward Adlaf (PhD) is a research scientist and head of the Population and Life Course Studies Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Ed holds an appointment as associate professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, where he teaches survey methods. He has published widely in the area of alcohol and other drug use, including epidemiology, advanced statistical techniques, and methodological investigations, and currently serves as an assistant editor for the journal Addiction. He has also served as a consultant to international organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations, and the governments of Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands, and he is currently coordinating a Global Audit of Student Drug Use for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Angela Paglia-Boak is a research coordinator at CAMH. Angela obtained her master of arts in psychology from York University. During the past 9 years, Angela has been responsible for coordinating the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey, the longest ongoing school survey in Canada, which, among other things, monitors gambling behaviours and problems among Ontario students.
Anca Ialomiteanu is a research coordinator at CAMH. Anca obtained her master of arts from the University of Bucharest, Romania. During the past 7 years, Anca has coordinated the CAMH Monitor, which follows gambling behaviours and problems among Ontario adults, and more recently the 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey.

Abstract

This study describes self-reported attendance in an Ontario casino among Ontario students aged 18 and under in 2005 and describes changes in attendance compared to 2003 and 2001. The results showed that in 2005, 1.0% of underage students, representing some 9,400 students in Ontario, reported gambling at casinos in Ontario, a percentage that remains unchanged compared to 2003 (1.5%) and 2001 (1.4%). These data suggest that only a small percentage of underage students gamble at Ontario casinos, and there is no evidence that this percentage has changed significantly since 2001.


Introduction

With the expansion of legalized gambling, one issue of policy control is restricting youth access. One indicator of youth access to gambling is underage attendance at casinos. In Ontario, it is illegal for youth under the age of 19 to be in gambling areas of a casino. This brief report describes self-reported casino attendance in Ontario among Ontario students aged 18 and under in 2005 and describes changes in attendance compared to 2003 and 2001.

The Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (OSDUS) is an Ontario-wide survey of elementary (grades 7 and 8) and secondary (grades 9 to 12) school students conducted every 2 years since 1977. The 2005 survey, which used a stratified (region) two-stage cluster design (school, class), included 7,726 students in grades 7 to 12 from 42 school boards, 137 schools, and 445 classes. The 2003 survey interviewed 6,616 students from 126 schools and 383 classrooms and the 2001 survey interviewed 4,211 students from 106 schools and 272 classrooms. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed in the classroom by staff from the Institute for Social Research, York University, between January and June. Student participation rates were 72% in 2005, 72% in 2003, and 71% in 2001; school participation rates were 95% in 2005, 88% in 2003, and 74% in 2001.

Since 2001, the OSDUS has asked students, “How often (if ever) in the last 12 months have you bet money at a casino in Ontario?” Open-ended count responses were recoded to indicate the percentage that reported one or more betting occasions. In each survey, this question was asked of a random half-sample of students, resulting in 1,943 in 2001, 3,283 in 2003, and 3,965 in 2005. All survey estimates were weighted, and variance and statistical tests were corrected for the sampling design.

In 2005, 1.0% of underage students, representing some 9,400 students in Ontario, reported gambling at casinos in Ontario, a percentage that remains unchanged compared to 2003 (1.5%) and 2001 (1.4%) (Table 1). Males were significantly more likely than females to report casino gambling in 2001 (2.3% vs. 0.6%; p = 0.002) and 2003 (2.3% vs. 0.9%; p = 0.001), but not in 2005 (1.4% vs. 0.5%; p = 0.054). Similarly, students aged 16 to 18 years were significantly more likely than those aged under 16 to report casino gambling in 2001 (2.4% vs. 0.9%; p = 0.025) and 2003 (2.5% vs. 0.8%; p = 0.002), but not in 2005 (1.4% vs. 0.7%; p = 0.123). Although the 2005 estimates for sex and age groups were somewhat lower compared to earlier years, these differences were all within sampling error and thus were not significant.

We must recognize that these data are based on self-reports and are likely underreported by some degree. As well, without qualitative interviews, we cannot know the precise definition of “casino” used by students, which could include formal operations or community “Casino Nights.” Still, it is likely that such reporting issues would be constant across years. Of course, these data exclude underage casino attendance by adolescents not enrolled in school. In summary, these data suggest that only a small percentage of underage students gamble at Ontario casinos, and there is no evidence that this percentage has changed significantly since 2001.



Tables
Table 1 

Percentage of Ontario students aged 18 and under who reported gambling in Ontario casinos within the past 12 months


Click for larger image


Article Categories:
  • brief report

Keywords: underage gambling, youth, casino attendance.


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