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BC study looks at casino impact

29 November 2006

BRITISH COLUMBIA – As reported by the Langley Times: "A multi-year study has given the first glimpse into the impact of increased casino gambling in Surrey and Langley

"The socio-economic impact study being conducted for the provincial government is tracing the effects on local residents of the spring 2005 opening of the Langley Cascades casino and of slot machines at Fraser Downs racetrack in Surrey, plus two facilities in Vancouver.

"…Their first-year findings show the percentage of problem gamblers in Langley City climbed from 2.5 per cent in 2004 to 4.9 per cent last year.

"The rate climbed from 5.6 to six per cent in Surrey, but actually fell in Langley Township from four per cent to 2.6 per cent in 2005.

"The firm behind the study, Blue Thorn Research and Analysis Group, concluded the change was not statistically significant.

"…Researchers also interviewed nine counsellors who work in the region with problem gamblers.

"…The report said the counsellors believe the casino in Langley may have led to an increase in the number of mental health clients there, because of the casino's proximity to low-income housing and residents without ready transportation.

"…Overall, the report concludes that based on the first year's findings the new casinos have had a relatively small impact on general gambling behaviour…"

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