Some people may remember a time when legalized gambling, such as lotteries, occurred only once a week. Today there are opportunities for people to gamble legally on a daily basis.
No wonder we are spending so much more on it. In 2007, Nova Scotians wagered about $1.5 billion; that's up 23 per cent from 2002.
Advertising portrays gambling as an exciting and social form of entertainment. Billboards show images of happy people enjoying a night out at the casino; TV ads say it's "fun to play." They never talk about the risks and never show the consequences. When you see enough of these images over time, it's easy to start to think that "normal" people don't have problems with gambling. And if you find that you are having a problem with it, that can make you feel very isolated — as if you alone can't handle it.
But that is not the case. Right now, there are an estimated 19,000 people suffering from problem gambling in Nova Scotia, with 28,000 more at risk of developing a problem. Any one can develop a problem with gambling, it has nothing to do with your age, gender, income or education. It can and does affect people from all walks of life, from any part of the province. Having a problem does not make you a bad person.
You also do not have to deal with a gambling problem alone. Whether you are concerned about yourself, or someone you know, help is close by. Just pick up the phone and call the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-347-8888. It's free, and confidential. Someone who understands will answer and will listen. It doesn't matter how deeply you are involved in gambling, recovery is possible. Others have done it, you can, too.
You can also get support or more information about problem gambling from any of the Addiction Services offices located across Nova Scotia. The service is free and your information will be kept in strictest confidence.
For more information, go back to the top of this page and see the links on the right hand side of your screen.
Crown copyright 2011, Province of Nova Scotia, all rights reserved.
Page last updated 2011-07-12.