Underage Gambling On the Increase in BC

British Columbia’s tactics for the prevention of underage and problem gambling in the province have recently come under fire for being insufficient. A recent report in the Toronto Sun shows that several infractions where retailers sold lottery tickets to minors last year, indicating that the government is not taking the necessary steps to stop minors from gambling.

QMI, a Canadian news provider, recently requested a list of records for underage gamblers in the province’s casinos, racetracks, bingo halls and lottery sellers. The BCLC refused, stating that it only held records for underage gambling activities at lottery retailers. However, the only record released was for a convenience store in North Vancouver that was banned for a month in 2009 for selling lottery tickets to underage individuals.

Problem gambling associations believe that underage gambling can lead to the development of a gambling addiction later in life. According to a 2008 study commissioned by British Columbia’s government, 42% of adults with gambling addictions admitted to getting involved in the activity before the age of 19.

Advocates for safe gambling practices believe that the British Columbia Lottery Commission should be doing more to prevent underage gambling. The commission has seen a great deal of criticism recently, in terms of its responsible gambling practices, but shows no signs of change.

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