Opportunities for Video Lottery Terminal Gambling in Montréal: An Environmental Analysis
Canadian Journal of Public Health
Background: In the province of Québec, video lottery terminal (VLT) gambling has proliferated under government control since 1 993. The aims of this study were to describe the spatial distribution of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the municipalities of Montréal and Laval and to identify neighbourhood socio-economic conditions associated with their distribution.
Method: Locations of all establishments holding VLT licences in Montréal and Laval (n=834) were geocoded by their street address. Boroughs (n=49) were characterized by socio-economic indicators (unemployment, educational attainment, lone parenthood), a neighbourhood distress index, and measures of VLT prevalence, VLT adoption and VLT density.
Results: VLT prevalence, adoption and density were strongly correlated (p<0.01) with lower borough socio-economic conditions. Although liquor establishments were also more likely to be located in poorer neighbourhoods, the adoption rate of VLT licences by bars in poorer neighbourhoods was systematically higher than in more affluent ones.
Conclusions: The spatial distribution of VLTs in Montréal and Laval closely reflects local geographies of socio-economic disadvantage. Any public health effort to reduce the burden of gambling-related health and social problems must recognize the spatial distortion of gambling opportunities in the urban environment.