Study Says 30% of Older People on Casino Bus Tours are Problem Gamblers

Publish: 30.07.2017

Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health performed a study which revealed negative effects of promotional deals on casino bus tours aimed at older adults many of which are considered to be problem gamblers.

Bus Tours Research

A research titled ‘A Free Ride? An Analysis of the Association of Casino Bus Tours and Problem Gambling Among Older Adults’ published on 23 June in the journal Addiction has revealed defeating numbers associated with higher odds of problem gambling on casino bus tours.

The research included more than 2,000 people who went to one of seven slot venues in Ontario, all of which are operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. One casino and six horse racing tracks with slot machines and table games were taken into consideration within the study.

The lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at CAMH, Dr. Mark van der Maas, states there is a high proportion of problem gamblers on tours. The numbers still have to be considered in the context of the fact people go to a casino to gamble, he adds, however.

“The amount that you gamble increases your likelihood of being a problem gambler greatly. Those who visit the casino more often are more likely to be problem gamblers.”, Mark van der Maas said.

Problem Gambling Connected to Bus Tours

The study shows a clear connection between the chances of a person becoming a problem gambler and those bus tours and Dr. Mark van der Maas claims most Ontario casinos have programs specifically targeting older adults, age 55 and up.

Not only do these programs offer free transportation, but they also include free meals and discounted hotel rooms but they have negative effects on older people who can be more vulnerable and more easily affected due to their decreasing social networks and financial resources.

The study shows that severe gambling problems rate in Canada is considered low – 1 in 500 – but that this number rises to 1 in 10 with those who take casino bus tours. Most of the bus tour patrons were said to be female, born outside of Canada and over 75 years of age, though.