Sep 04, 2013
By Jane Brown
Hospitals that run fundraising lotteries should also take steps to protect players who are susceptible to problem gambling. This is the argument by Canadian Medical Association Journal Editor-in-Chief Dr. John Fletcher. He says doctors and hospitals have a responsibility to prevent harm. But he points out that fundraising lotteries offering houses, cars and mega-dollar prizes have the potential to severely affect people with a gambling addiction. Dr. Fletcher says in his editorial that it’s contradictory for legislation to ban hospitals from selling a legal, addictive product such as tobacco, while allowing them to actively promote lotteries.
An estimated four per cent of Canadian adults are thought to have a gambling problem. Doctor Fletcher points out this small segment generates about 23 per cent of gambling revenue in the country.