GeoJournal

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 123–138 | Cite as

Place, gender and the appeal of video lottery terminal gambling: unpacking a focus group study of Montreal youth

Article

Abstract

Youth gambling has become an important public health issue in Canada and elsewhere owing to the known associations between gambling and delinquency, family dysfunction and suicide. Modern electronic and virtual gambling activities like video lottery terminals (VLTs) may have particular appeal to youth who have been raised in social environments that are increasingly dependent on information and communication technologies. The main objective of the study was to explore why youth gamble and what makes gambling activities like VLTs popular to youth in the places where youth live, study and play. The research is framed within a population health perspective that recognizes the role of social and physical environments in influencing health-related behaviours. Group discussions were conducted with youth to explore the popularity and appeal of gambling and VLTs, and how gambling fits into the daily routines of youth and the spaces they occupy. Methodologically, this research was conscious of responding to calls in the literature to analyze focus groups as an interactive group process rather a collection of individual responses, and to exercise analytic rigour by explicitly making the research team’s positionality and the data collection process transparent. Group discussions revealed gender differences in the appeal of particular gambling activities with young males being more likely to discuss poker, dice, sports-betting and online gambling as exciting social activities, while females described lottery and scratch (instant win) tickets as fun solitary activities. Substantive results point to the need for interventions to address social aspects of gambling that appeal, in particular, to young males potentially through increased provision of healthier alternatives to social engagement and greater attention to young people’s use of space.

Keywords

Focus group interviews Gambling Health behaviours Health geography Population health Youth 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canadian Research Institute of Social PolicyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityWest MontrealCanada

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