**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Film Board of Canada. All opinions are my own.
As you can imagine, I read a lot of articles about personal finance. Even though I don’t need any advice on how to manage money, I do like to read the stories that others have to tell. What I’ve noticed over the years is that there’s one money topic that no one seems to talk about – gambling.
This really shouldn’t be a surprise since personal finance bloggers likely aren’t gambling. I can honestly say the most I’ve ever spent on gambling in a casino was $30 on video poker. Even then, I cashed out when I was up to $40!
How common gambling is for Canadians
I don’t ever gamble unless I’m willing to lose that money. I do buy the occasional lottery ticket, but that’s just for fun. Even though the odds are stacked against you, the gambling industry is still massive. Just look at some of these stats.
- In any given year, 79% of Canadians participate in some form of gambling
- In 2014, the gambling industry generated $13 billion in revenue in Canada
- Over 35% of casino profits come from players who have a gambling problem
The key stat is the last one. Slot machines and casino games are designed to get people to play. There’s a whole psychology behind it, but basically, when players win, they feel good; when they lose, they feel like they’re being punished and need to redeem themselves.
You’re essentially a hostage to your emotions and casinos take advantage of that. For some, gambling addiction is a real issue and get trapped in a cycle.
How to deal with gambling addiction
Casual people may not understand this problem which is why the NFB has developed an interactive platform which invites users to discover the dark side of gambling by exploring how games of chance affect players who develop addictive behaviours.
Thank You for Playing allows you to follow the personal stories of three players who recount their experiences of addiction and abstinence. This is a unique look at how gambling has affected individuals.
Various experts including neurologists, psychologists, and addiction specialists also take part and offer theories to help audiences understand the mechanism and source of the dangerous, drug-free addiction that is compulsive gambling.
Find out how gambling addiction affects you
Even if you don’t have any gambling issues, the NFB’s interactive website is a way for you to learn about gambling addiction and who it affects. Three people (Meet Marie, Stéphane and Robert) share their very personal stories of addiction and abstinence.
This isn’t just a documentary, as the stories are told, you’ll take part in the games where you can bet and amass points. The idea is to show you first hand how the mechanics of gambling can lead to addiction. The decisions you make can lead you towards a wheel of misfortune, but at the same time, you’ll learn how to break the cycle of addiction.
Gambling addiction also has some real-life consequences. Find out how Marie considered gambling to be her life, why Stéphane quit his job before he managed to stop playing, and what caused Robert’s wife to leave him.
Although Robert and Marie no longer gamble, Stéphane still considers himself at risk. Check out Thank You for Playing now to learn more.