10 Gambling Addiction Facts: Understanding Problem Gambling

May 27, 2024

Sometimes, the best way to convey crucial information about a serious issue like Gambling Addiction is to create a list of facts. Below, in no particular order, are 10 important details and stats about Problem Gambling that everyone should be aware of and always keep in mind. .

These facts and stats emphasize the multifaceted nature of gambling addiction, highlighting its emotional, financial, and societal impacts, along with the importance of accessible treatment and support.

Top 10 Gambling Addiction Facts & Stats

#1) Gambling Addiction is not just a financial problem, but an emotional problem

Gambling addiction goes beyond financial losses, deeply impacting emotional well-being. Individuals often experience intense feelings when gambling where they lose control. Gambling can successfully alleviate stress and elicit a euphoric feeling of escape, whether the individual is winning or losing. 

On the flip side, guilt, shame, anxiety and depression are some of the notable negative intense feelings that can exacerbate the problem. The emotional turmoil can be just as devastating as the financial consequences, potentially leading to strained relationships and mental health issues.

#2) Gambling Addiction affects individuals perceived as successful and intelligent

Contrary to common stereotypes, Gambling Addiction can impact anyone, including those perceived as successful and intelligent. High-achieving individuals may gamble to cope with pressure or stress, but the addiction can undermine their personal and professional lives, regardless of their success or intelligence.

Coined “The Silent Disease,” gambling disorder can be difficult to detect, and intelligent individuals can be masters of disguising problems. If you are worried that you or a loved one may be falling victim to Problem Gambling, check out the most common symptoms of Gambling Addiction (link to piece when it goes live on Birches blog) to spot telltale signs.

#3) Gambling Addiction often comes with co-occurring disorders

Many people with Gambling Addiction also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. 

The National Library of Medicine found that 75% of gamblers had an alcohol disorder, 38% had a drug use disorder and 60% were nicotine dependent. Additionally, 50% of gamblers have experienced a mood disorder, 41.3% had experienced an anxiety disorder and 60.8% had experienced a personality disorder. Additionally, the National Council on Problem Gambling estimates 50% of those affected by gambling problems commit crimes in order to support their addiction. 

Addressing these concurrent issues is crucial for effective treatment, as the disorders often fuel each other, making recovery more complex.

#4) College campus settings provoke high rates of Problem Gambling

College students are particularly vulnerable to Problem Gambling due to factors like peer pressure, newfound independence and stress. Studies show higher rates of gambling (in one study, 75% of college students reported gambling in the last year) and higher rates of gambling issues among college populations. The risk of developing a Gambling Addiction more than doubles on college campuses with about 6% of college students ended up struggling with Gambling Addiction.

#5) Gambling Addiction is more common in men than women

Men between the ages of 20 and 30 are statistically more likely to develop Gambling Addiction than women. However, women who do develop the addiction often progress to severe problems more rapidly. This gender disparity highlights the need for targeted prevention and treatment strategies.

#6) As the gambling industry increases into the billions in revenue, gambling addiction cases are also rising 

The expansion of the gambling industry, with Las Vegas bringing in $10 billion annually alone, now joined by a projected $10 billion in U.S. revenue from online sports betting, has created a massively lucrative sector,but also has led to a corresponding rise in Gambling Addiction cases. The increased accessibility and promotion of gambling opportunities contribute to the growing number of individuals affected.

Research from a few years ago indicated 2.5 million U.S. adults, or roughly 1% of the U.S. population met the criteria for a severe gambling problem in a given year. Another 2-3% were considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems. Given what we’ve seen from states that report their Problem Gambling figures, these numbers are likely outdated and notably higher nowadays.

#7) $14 billion is the annual national social cost of problem gambling

The social cost of Problem Gambling in the U.S. is estimated at $14 billion annually. This figure includes healthcare costs, criminal justice expenses, lost productivity and social services, illustrating the broad societal impact of Gambling Addiction.

#8) An estimated 23 million Americans go into debt because of gambling

Gambling Addiction leads millions of Americans into debt each year. The financial strain can result in bankruptcy, loss of savings and severe economic hardship, affecting not just the individuals but also their families and communities.

#9) Nevada headlines the top 5 most-addicted gambling states

Nevada, known for its vibrant gambling industry, tops the list of states with the highest rates of Gambling Addiction. Other states with high addiction rates include South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, reflecting the widespread nature of the issue.

#10) There are specialized resources and treatment options for Gambling Addiction

Birches Health provides specialized online treatment for individuals dealing with Problem Gambling. Their experienced counselors create customized care plans in a supportive and confidential environment. They prioritize your security and convenience, and many patients enjoy zero out-of-pocket costs for the services.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Birches Health offerings, please email hello@bircheshealth.com or call (833) 483-3838.

Sources:

5 Alarming Gambling Addiction Statistics

10 Gambling Addiction Facts You Probably Don’t Know

FAQs: What is Problem Gambling?

Gambling Addiction Statistics: Problem Gambling on the Rise

Online Sports Betting - United States

Most Gambling-Addicted States (2024)

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