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New production targets student gambling issues
A new production by The Responsible Gambling Council is targeting Ontario's students, a group that is increasingly facing problems associated with the habit.
Ontario students are gambling in droves, whether it's poker, lottery tickets or online betting, and for many the habit causing issues.
A York University study reveals nearly half of Ontario's students gamble, and for some it's an activity that can lead to substance abuse, mental health issues and delinquency.
In fact, the research suggests nearly 30,000 Ontario students are dealing with problems associated with gambling.
The production is called 82%, a title based on a common poker strategy, and it aims to teach students how to prevent the problems that can be associated with gambling.
Rick Simm is an actor in the production, "There are risks, we want to show them how to avoid the risks," he says, "we go in with a message of prevention and awareness, so we just want to equip students with the knowledge that they need to stay out of trouble."
Student Kevin Chau knows the reality of gambling isn't what it seems, "They always talk about winning stuff, but when they actually lose they're really sad about it."
And he says the production is getting the message across, "Watch out what you do, just try and focus on things that are important, rather than things you don't need to do."
Student Kody Szymanski adds, "Gambling is actually a lot bigger deal than I thought it was because I didn't really realize that kids my age and slightly older had issues with this. I thought it more so an adult thing."
The Responsible Gambling Council is also hoping to give students a strategy to pass along to friends you might have a problem.
Szymanski says she'd be willing to talk to his friends, pass on information about who they can talk to, and tell them it's something that "isn't going to work out for you in the end."
For more information, or if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please contact St. Mary's Counselling Service at 519-745-2585. The service is free. You can also call the 24-hour Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-230-3505.