Gambling revenues down in ’08

Statistics Canada says gambling revenues in 2008 dropped for the first time in 16 years as Canadians pumped less cash into lottery tickets, horse racing and video lottery terminals.

WINNIPEG — Statistics Canada says gambling revenues in 2008 dropped for the first time in 16 years as Canadians pumped less cash into lottery tickets, horse racing and video lottery terminals.

The number of households involved in at least one gambling activity also dropped across the country — from 74 per cent in 2000 to 52 per cent in 2007, says a study released Wednesday. Some of the study’s figures are for 2007 and some are for 2008.

People in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta led the country in per capita gambling spending as of two years ago.

Manitoba had the highest number of households — 56 per cent —that said they bought lottery tickets, played bingo, visited casinos or used slot machines.

Henry Pold, senior analyst with Statistics Canada, said some forms of gaming are faring better than others.

“Casinos are still showing increases,” Pold said. “It’s VLTs that have dropped off the last few years. Slot machines are still climbing, but lotteries have been flat for a long time now.”

Despite the decline, gambling generated $13.6 billion in revenue for governments across the country in 2008. Saskatchewan brought in the highest gambling revenue per person — $825 —followed by Alberta and Manitoba.

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