Gambling Treatment in Arizona
Is Gambling Legal in Arizona?
In short, yes, gambling is legal in Arizona with some caveats. Arizona, with over 7 million people, is the 14th most populous state in the union. 1.6 million of those people live in the state's capital, Phoenix. Currently, Arizona is undergoing an increase in gambling and individuals presenting with problem gambling issues. The 2021 Gaming Act legalizes sports betting and fantasy sports contests in the state. This expansion of gambling options beyond sanctioned tribal casinos and onto virtual gambling is troublesome for those struggling with problem gambling.
Gambling Addiction Statistics in Arizona
In January of 2022, Arizonans bet more than $563 million. In March, that number grew to $692 million. And, in the year between September 2021 and November 2022, over $7 billion in wagers was placed in the state. Needless to say, gambling is on the rise in the Grand Canyon State.
As of the last count, there are 18 sports betting apps allowed by the state with the possibility of two more being added. Currently, 25 casinos operate across Arizona, all of which are Native American-operated facilities. There are many options available for those looking to gamble.
While gambling addiction is often associated with casinos, the National Council on Problem Gambling reports: "The rate of gambling problems among sports bettors is at least twice as high as among gamblers in general. When sports gambling is conducted online, the rate of problems is even higher, with one study of online sports gamblers indicating that 16% meet clinical criteria for gambling disorder and another 13% show some signs of gambling problems."
That is why the expansion of online betting in Arizona is so concerning for those who are at risk of developing a gambling problem. These online platforms reduce the barrier to begin gambling, and for many, the results are disastrous.
Signs of a Gambling Addiction
If you suspect a loved one is dealing with problem gambling there are some signs to be aware of:
Here are some common signs that may indicate a gambling problem:
Preoccupation with Gambling: Constantly thinking about gambling, planning the next gambling session, or reliving past gambling experiences.
Increasing Bet Amounts: Needing to bet larger amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement or to recover previous losses (known as "chasing losses").
Failed Attempts to Stop or Cut Back: Unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling altogether.
Irritability and Restlessness: Becoming easily agitated or restless when attempting to reduce or stop gambling.
Concealing or Lying About Gambling: Hiding the extent of gambling activities or lying to friends, family, or loved ones about the amount of time or money spent on gambling.
Neglecting Responsibilities: Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities, such as work, school, relationships, or household duties, due to gambling.
Borrowing Money: Frequently borrowing money from friends, family, or other sources to finance gambling activities or to cover gambling-related debts.
Financial Problems: Experiencing financial difficulties or accumulating significant debts as a result of gambling losses.
Mood Swings: Experiencing frequent mood swings, ranging from extreme highs during winning streaks to intense lows or depression after losses.
Relationship Strain: Experiencing strained or damaged relationships with friends, family members, or partners due to gambling-related behavior.
Neglecting Self-Care: Ignoring personal hygiene, health, or well-being due to excessive gambling.
Chasing Losses: Continuously gambling in an attempt to win back previous losses, leading to a cycle of increased bets and escalating losses.
It is important to note that experiencing one or more of these signs does not necessarily indicate a gambling problem, but if you or someone you know is exhibiting several of these signs and it is causing distress or negative consequences in their life, it may be indicative of a gambling problem. In such cases, seeking professional help from a therapist or a support group specialized in gambling addiction can be beneficial.
Problem Gambling Resources in Arizona
If you are a resident of Arizona and have a gambling problem, there are several options available for those seeking recovery.
The Arizona Division of Problem Gambling is committed to providing treatment and education programs. This program is funded by the gambling dollars.
Other options for gambling treatment include private practices and treatment centers in the state. In many cases, insurance covers treatment. Blue Cross Blue Shield, a commonly used healthcare provider in Arizona, offers treatment and coverage for gambling addiction. Contacting your insurance provider will provide more clarity on coverage and treatment options.
Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous are also available for those seeking treatment.
Gam-anon is a support group for the family members and loved ones of those suffering from gambling addiction.
A call to your insurance provider or an internet search is a good place to start when seeking out treatment options. There are many treatment options local to residents of Arizona. These can either be at a center, in a therapist's office, or virtually. Most importantly is that those who are in need of treatment for a gambling problem find it. As Airzona makes more modes of gambling legal, the number of individuals experiencing problem gambling will continue to rise. Without proper treatment people, and their families, will suffer the effects of compulsive gambling.
U.S. Census Bureau. QuickFacts: Arizona. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/AZ
Arizona Casinos. Laws and Gaming Regulations. Retrieved from https://www.arizonacasinos.com/laws/
Mayo Clinic. Compulsive gambling: Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-gambling/symptoms-causes/syc-20355178
ABC15 Arizona. Arizona sees gambling addiction surge after sports betting is legalized. Retrieved from https://www.abc15.com/sports/arizona-sees-gambling-addiction-surge-after-sports-betting-is-legalized
National Council on Problem Gambling. (2020). Sports Gambling: Executive Summary. Retrieved from https://www.ncpgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Sports-gambling_NCPGLitRvwExecSummary.pdf
Arizona Department of Gaming. Problem Gambling. Retrieved from https://problemgambling.az.gov/
Gamblers Anonymous. Retrieved from https://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/