Project Overview

Comprehensive national investigations of gambling have been undertaken in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, but, until now, none has ever been conducted in Canada. The purpose of this project is to address this deficit. The value of national investigations are three-fold. First, they document all the background information pertaining to the provision and participation in gambling which makes such studies an excellent reference tool for policy makers and researchers. Second, they undertake a rigorous examination of the impacts of gambling at both the national and regional levels. Third, they involve significant participation from major gambling stakeholders due to the high-profile nature of these investigations and the practical relevance of their findings. This, in turn, creates the potential for meaningful policy improvements with respect to the provision of gambling.

  • Comprehensively document the current legal and regulatory framework for gambling in each province, including types of legal gambling, revenue generation and its distribution, harm minimization strategies, and historical development of gambling policy.
  • Measure current Canadian and provincial rates of gambling participation and prevalence of problem gambling.
  • Measure Canadian and provincial prevalence of participation in online gambling and develop a profile of Canadian online gamblers.
  • Survey Canadians regarding their attitudes toward gambling as well as their knowledge about gambling in Canada.
  • Obtain validated survey data to inform development of Canadian Low-Risk Gambling Guidelines.
  • Understand the Indigenous-Canadian experience relating to gambling and problem gambling.
  • Create a profile of Canadian problem gamblers.
  • Unravel the etiology of problem gambling and problem gambling remission.
  • Examine the role of legal gambling provision and harm-minimization initiatives as predictors of concurrent Canadian and provincial rates of problem gambling.
  • Assess the impact of Canada's cannabis legalization on gambling behaviour and gambling-related harm.


  • May: First year funding for grant received
  • June-October: Data cleaning of the LLLP dataset
  • July-December: STATISTICS CANADA SURVEY administered by Statistics Canada to 28,000 Canadians.
  • August-September: BASELINE ONLINE PANEL SURVEY administered to 10,000 Canadians by LegerWeb.
  • September-October: Data cleaning, creation of composite variables, and provision of descriptive statistics for the Baseline Online Panel Survey.


  • August-September: FOLLOW-UP ONLINE PANEL SURVEY administered by LegerWeb
  • Fall/Winter: data cleaning, creation of composite variables, and codebook creation for the Follow-Up Online Panel Survey; data entry for Problem Gamblers in Treatment Survey; data entry for Casino Patron Surveys.


  • Continued data analysis and article writing/submissions
  • December 31: End of contract for Project Manager


  • Data sets given to a public institutional repository and made available to other researchers. Statistics Canada will house the CCHS data, which will be available to all researchers via the Research Data Centres at most Canadian universities. Gambling Research Exchange Ontario will potentially house all the other data.

Alberta Gambling Research Institute is the main source of funding for the project.

Canadian Consortium for Gambling Research is funding and managing the Statistics Canada Survey portion of the project.

Through a financial contribution from the Mise sur toi Foundation, the CCSA is providing $80,000 toward the Online Panel Surveys (specifically toward helping develop the Canadian Low Risk Gambling Guidelines).

GREO is paying for 50% of the costs for the Project Manager to clean the data ($87,500). In return, the data would be housed by GREO. They are also paying the Project Manager $30,000 for cleaning of the Leisure, Lifestyle, Lifecycle Project data (June 2018 – December 2018) in return for having it housed at GREO. In total, this constitutes 61.8% of the Project Manager's salary.

Project Research Team

Robert Williams headshot

Dr. Robert Williams

Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences 
University of Lethbridge 
Phone: (403) 382-7128

Dr. Robert Williams is a professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, and also a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. Dr. Williams teaches courses on gambling; provides frequent consultation to government, industry, the media, and public interest groups; and regularly gives expert witness testimony on the impacts of gambling. Dr. Williams is widely published and is a leading authority in the areas of  prevention of problem gambling, the etiology of problem gambling, Internet gambling, the socioeconomic impacts of gambling, the proportion of gambling revenue deriving from problem gamblers, the prevalence and nature of gambling in Aboriginal communities, and best practices in the population assessment of problem gambling.

Dr. Carrie Leonard

Dr. Carrie Leonard

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Lethbridge

Dr. Carrie A. Leonard is the Project Coordinator for the National Gambling Project. Her doctoral research focused on the identification of individual differences that increase susceptibility to erroneous gambling-specific and paranormal beliefs. Dr. Leonard’s research interests include how individual differences, such as intelligence, cognitive style, and personality, contribute to enhanced ability, various forms of psychopathology, and cognition. Her recent publications include: “The relationship between gambling fallacies and problem gambling” (2016), “Gambling Fallacies: What are they and how are they best measured?” (2015), and “Characteristics of good poker players” (2015).

Yale Belanger headshot

Dr. Yale D. Belanger

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Lethbridge

Dr. Yale Belanger is a professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge, and a Member of the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists (2017-2024). He has written or edited numerous books and articles about First Nation casino development and the gaming industry, Aboriginal self-government, housing and homelessness, and Indigenous activism. His books include Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Native Studies in Canada and First Nations Gaming in Canada, among others.

Dr. Darren R. Christensen

Dr. Darren R. Christensen 

Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Lethbridge

Dr. Darren R. Christensen received his PhD in psychology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has previously worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Melbourne examining the efficacy of contingency management as a treatment for substance dependence and problem gambling. From 2013 to 2018, he was the Alberta Gambling Research Institute Chair in Gambling Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge. His research includes developing behavioural treatments for problem gambling, counselling for problem gambling, evaluations of the effectiveness of harm minimization measures, and an investigation of regular opioid antagonist dosing on gambling urge and brain function.

Dr. Nady A. el-Guebaly headshot

Dr. Nady A. el-Guebaly

Department of Psychiatry
University of Calgary

Dr. Nady el-Guebaly is Professor and Head, Division of Addiction, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary, and past Chair of the Department. He is the Founding Past Medical Director of the Calgary Health Region’s Addiction Program and Founding Past President of the International Society of Addiction Medicine. Currently, Dr. el-Guebaly is Chief Examiner of the International Society of Addiction Medicine; Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Addiction; and Senior Editor of the Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives. Major research interests have resulted in hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and chapters and numerous past and current research grants. Dr. el-Guebaly joined the Institute Board on its establishment in 1999, served as Board Chair from 2002 to 2011, and took on the role of Research Director from 2013 to 2018. In 2017, Dr. el-Guebaly was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his leadership on addictions research and treatment.

Dr. David C. Hodgins

Dr. David C. Hodgins

Department of Psychology
University of Calgary

Dr. David C. Hodgins is a professor in the Program in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, and a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. He is registered as a Clinical Psychologist in Alberta. His research interests focus on various aspects of addictive behaviours including relapse and recovery from substance abuse and gambling disorders. Dr. Hodgins co-chairs the Scientific Working Group of the National Low Risk Gambling Guidelines development project.

Dr. Daniel S. McGrath

Dr. Daniel S. McGrath

Department of Psychology
University of Calgary

Dr. Daniel McGrath is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary and holds the Alberta Gambling Research Institute Chair in Gambling Research. His research is primarily focused on the co-morbid relationship between commonly used substances (e.g., tobacco, alcohol) and gambling behaviour as well as exploring attentional biases in gambling disorder. Most of this work involves conducting experiments in a controlled laboratory environment using drug-challenge designs and video lottery terminals. The goal of this work is to help researchers and clinicians better understand the interaction between use of addictive substances and gambling disorder. Dr. McGrath has been the recipient of numerous grants to support his research and has published over two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles.

Fiona Headshot

Dr. Fiona Nicoll

Department of Political Science
University of Alberta

Associate Professor Dr. Fiona Nicoll is the Alberta Gambling Research Institute Research Chair in Gambling Policy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She is currently completing a book titled “Gambling in Everyday Life: Governing Spaces, Moments and Products of Enjoyment,” to be published in 2019. She is currently carrying out a comprehensive meta-analysis of gambling literature published to date, examining the disciplinary lineages and inclinations of gambling scholars, and how this has affected (and continues to affect) the study of gambling practices, players, regimes, games, and so forth. She is also the lead editor of the new journal Critical Gambling Studies, which aims to expand the range of disciplinary conversations possible within gambling studies, bolster gambling scholarship that engages critically with the complexities of playing games for money, and create a supportive space for new and emerging gambling scholars to publish their work.

Dr. Garry J. Smith

Dr. Garry J. Smith

Professor Emeritus
University of Alberta

Dr. Garry Smith is a University of Alberta Professor Emeritus and was a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute from 2000 to 2018. Dr. Smith has researched gambling public policy issues for over thirty-five years and his scholarly contributions include numerous articles in academic journals, book chapters, and presentations at national and international conferences. Dr. Smith has also served as an expert witness in gambling-related civil and criminal trials on numerous occasions.

Mr. Rhys M.G. Stevens headshot

Mr. Rhys M.G. Stevens

Librarian III
University Library, University of Lethbridge

Rhys  Stevens is the Librarian & Information Specialist for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI) and has been in this position since 2001. His other subject liaison responsibilities at the University of Lethbridge Library include Geography, Anthropology, Maps, Government  Documents, and Spatial/Numeric  Data.

Dr. Darrel Manitowabi

Dr. Darrel Manitowabi 

Associate Professor
Laurentian University

Dr. Darrel Manitowabi is an associate professor and the Director of the School of Northern and Community Studies, Laurentian University, and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, in Sudbury, Ontario. He holds a cross-appointment in the School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Human Sciences Division. He is an Indigenous anthropologist with research interests in medical and applied anthropology and has published articles on Indigenous tourism and gaming, Ojibwa/Anishinaabe ethnohistory, urban Indigenous issues, and Indigenous health. His home community is the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and he currently resides in the Whitefish River First Nation.