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Facts About Gambling Addiction

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Gambling addiction, or problem gambling, like other addictions can disrupt or damage both a person’s personal and professional lives. Signature signs that an individual may be suffering from a gambling addiction include an increasing preoccupation with gambling overall, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when trying to stop, and “chasing” losses, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. In some cases, gambling can become so extreme that it can result in financial ruin, legal issues, loss of career, loss of family and friends, and even suicide.

Incidence

Around 85 percent of American adults have gambled at least once in their lifetime, with 60 percent of these people having gambled within the past year. While most people can gamble responsibility, some people are not able to keep their gambling under control. In fact, about two million people are considered pathological gamblers and another four to six million are likely experiencing some problems due to their gambling.

Revenue Generator

State lotteries, tracks and casinos across the country generate more than $95 billion in revenue per year. Hawaii and Utah are the only two states that do not have legalized gambling.

Societal Costs

The annual cost of gambling addiction on society is $7 billion, which includes loss productivity, bankruptcy and crime.

Women

The large gap between men and women gamblers is slowly closing. About 67 percent of women who seek help for their gambling addiction are between the ages of 40 and 60. Women tend to prefer “escape” gambling, which includes bingo, video poker, slot machines and the lottery.

College Students

It is estimated that about 75 percent of college students have gambled within the past year either legally or illegally. And, the majority of these college students -- 67 percent -- bet on college sports such as football and basketball.

Source: National Council on Problem Gambling