Odds are you didn’t know Problem Gambling Prevention Week was coming up.

The Responsible Gambling Council cites statistics of 3.4 per cent of Ontarians having a moderate to severe gambling problem. In Simcoe, Muskoka and Parry Sound this equals around 14,500 adults. Problem Gambling Prevention Week runs from October 22nd to 28th.

Further, one in ten Ontarians reports being affected negatively by someone else’s gambling. That equates to another 42,600 in the area feeling the effects of problem gambling.

Gambling in Ontario takes on many forms, from going to the casino, playing the lottery, online gaming, horse racing, bingo, and sports betting.

Spokesman for the RGC Greg Eaton wants gamblers to recognize the warning signs.

“The focus is really having people who are choosing to gamble be able to recognize some of those early warning signs attached to problem gambling,” says Eaton.

These are some of the signs of problem gambling:

  • Gambling more to win back losses
  • Experiencing extreme highs from gambling wins and extreme lows from gambling losses
  • Getting irritated more easily or having less patience when dealing with normal, everyday activities
  • Feeling guilty, anxious, frustrated or worried about your gambling
  • Thinking or talking more than usual about gambling

The RGC says these feelings serve a purpose. If you ignore them it only makes the situation worse. That’s why they say it is important to pay attention to how gambling makes you feel before it becomes a problem.

While financial losses are a measuring tool to point to problem gambling, the amount of time taken away from family or job situations can also be an issue.

“We suggest to set a time limit as well,” says Eaton. “Certainly there has to be a balance there if you are choosing to gamble, you don’t want it to affect your relationships (at home or work).”

  • Call ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 or in your community:
  • Barrie: Canadian Mental Health Association,
  • Simcoe County Branch – 705-726-5033
  • Bracebridge: Canadian Mental Health Association, Muskoka-Parry Sound – 705-645-2262 or 1-800-245-5036