Quebecers Are Huge Internet Gamblers

Approximately 86,000 adult Quebecers spend on average $9,903 every year gambling online.

According to a report done by an independent academic study released yesterday, it concluded -as Lotto-Quebec ramps up provision to introduce its own brand of internet casino gambling before Christmas to compete with a surplus of offshore and unregulated sites. The majority of Quebec’s internet gamblers are unmarried males under the age of 44 with a more distinct liking for puffing pot in comparison to other gamblers, the study pointed out.

Gamblers who steer clear of internet gambling spend a far lower average of $527 per year, added the first phase of the large-scale, and provincially financed report.  Results are based on a telephone assessment of 11,888 Quebecers during summer 2009, with interviews lasting as long as 12 minutes.  Nearly a third of internet gamblers -32.9 per cent acknowledged the use of cannabis.  That compares with 11.3 per cent of gamblers who don’t wager at internet gambling sites but also said that they had a pot habit.

“People are spending more cash those members of society who wager at internet casinos, this is a fact,” said Sylvia Kairouz, a Concordia University professor and director of the university’s Lifestyle and Addiction Research Laboratory. She co-led the study.

“We are most definitely going to keep a close eye on how matters will be progressing over the next two years pertaining to internet gambling,” she said. Median annual spending by Internet gamblers -the mid-point, where half of those said they wager less and half report spending more -came to $856, the study concluded.  This compared to bettors who did not wager at Internet gambling sites was $128.

The eyebrow-raising average outlay approaching $10,000 is so dramatically higher than the median “because a few internet gamblers spend copious amount of cash,” said Kairouz, adding that “this may impact on their estimation.” Seven out of 10 adults in Quebec gamble online and spend approximately $713 each on a yearly basis.  As with internet gambling, the average is a far lower $132.

Loto-Quebec’s venture into internet gambling is up and away for a pre-Christmas marketing campaign. “We haven’t set a date,” said Jean-Pierre Roy, a Loto-Quebec spokesperson.  He took the prospect and the study’s estimations that the percentage of adult Quebecers at moderate risk of developing a gambling problem appears more or less stable, within statistical bounds of uncertainty, at some 81,000 or 1.3 per cent.

Kairouz said mentioned “the figures might have increased somewhat” in that category from 2002 -“but it’s not statistically important at present.” Close to another 41,000 Quebecers, or 0.7 per cent, she added, can be regarded as pathological gamblers.  The 2002 study used a different line of attack and put that proportion at a slightly higher 0.8 per cent, she noted.

Three out of every five Internet gamblers, 60.5 per cent, play internet poker, the study concluded, with internet sports betting next at 14.7 per cent. The report is the first to be released as part of a five-year, $500,000 study to run to 2014, with a followup survey planned for 2012.  In order to support, prevent and treatment of gambling related problems.



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