Problem Gambling Statistics

A round-up of shocking, worrying, and important statistics and data points about gambling addiction and problem gambling.

Problem gambling is a prevalent issue felt by most people in developing countries as shown by statistics. Consequences of problem gambling are not just felt by families, friends, or coworkers, they are also felt within communities. To give you a clear picture of problem gambling, we provide a list of alarming facts based on primary and secondary sources.

Problem Gambling Statistics: Sources

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Before divulging the facts shown through studies, we need to divulge our sources. Almost every data we use come from national non-profit organizations dealing with problem gambling such as the National Association of Administrators for Disordered Gambling Services (NAADGS) and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

Health organizations we sourced our data from are working to minimize the impact of problem gambling among society. In addition, each group is not in any position to gain from going against legalized gambling. As stated by the NCPG's mission to "lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling", these organizations look to protecting vulnerable groups without hindering legitimate businesses.

Other sources of our data have relevant connections with gambling, including, tracking credit loans for online casinos. With data from financial institutions, we can further provide a bigger picture on the impact of problem gambling.

Alarming Problem Gambling Statistics

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Problem gambling harms both the individuals and people connected to them. Gambling also led to issues with academia and the workforce due to the mental issues associated with the act. Below are several important facts to show how serious this issue has reached.

  • Parents with problem gambling issues are more likely to commit domestic violence among their children. Often as a means to vent out their frustrations.
  • A demographic of people ages 25-45 are at risk of compulsive gambling. People who are ages 45 and older tend to become a gambling addicts if they feel isolated or alone.
  • There have been 17% reported child abuse within the household of parents experiencing problem gambling. Nearly 50% of these households with problem gambling have spouses who have been abused.
  • About 39.5% of couples going through problem gambling issues have resulted in divorce while 53.5% of couples with serious gambling addictions have separated. In contrast, only 18.2% of non-gambling couples ended in divorce. These results come from a study done by NORC at the University of Chicago.
  • 76% of people who experienced problem gambling or have shown signs of the symptom frequently have chronic depression. Individuals going through depression and gambling problems tend to abuse drugs or alcohol to find an escape.
  • About a quarter of US college students participate in online gambling. Multiple studies show there is a rise in college students who gamble online over time, which is much faster than other demographics based on age.
  • Accessibility is the main contributor to the increase in compulsive gambling behaviors among students. Certain studies show 6% of those students who have gambled online do so every week.
  • Men are more likely to experience gambling addiction at a faster rate than women. However, there is an increase in women gamblers over time. Studies show that women who develop problem gambling show severe signs of addiction problems than men.
  • Issues stemming from problem gambling are as damaging as the ones caused by serious mental disorders and substance abuse. Studies conducted by the World Health Organization show that problem gambling is significantly harmful than drug dependence.
  • 90% of credit card owners around the globe who are suffering from problem gambling issues have taken an advance on their credit cards for online casinos. Advances tend to have higher charges, making it difficult for gamblers to clear their debt.

To summarize, men are at risk of experiencing gambling addiction than women. One or two parents going through problem gambling issues tend to end in divorce and are likely to be the cause of domestic abuse.

A significant percentage of college students are likely to have gambled online due to the accessibility of casino websites. Students who are credit card owners going through problem gambling issues are likely to be in debt when they are taking an advance for their gambling habit.

Effects of Problem Gambling on Crime Rates

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Problem gambling has a significant effect on crime among any community, which you can see through the statistical finding below.

  • Nearly 50% of people going through problem gambling issues are criminal offenders. These include minor and severe crimes.
  • According to a Georgia State University study, about 80% to 90% of Gamblers Anonymous participants have confessed to supporting their gambling activities through illegal means. These participants have committed fraud, white-collar crimes, workplace, and credit card theft.
  • 68.8% of people going through severe problem gambling issues are criminal offenders who are looking to repay their debts or for more money to use on casinos. Only 26.3% of individuals experiencing moderate problem gambling symptoms pursuit any illegal activities.
  • 30% of Gamblers Anonymous members confessed that they stole from their workplace while 63% of members wrote checks that bounced.
  • About 57% of members of Gamblers Anonymous have stolen from their partners to finance their gambling activities. Combining the total amount of members who stole from their spouse or fiancé have reached $30 million, which includes both cash and property. This total averaged around $135,000 worth of stolen assets per Gamblers Anonymous member.
  • White-collar employees who have problem gambling issues are most likely to commit crimes than other types of employees. These crimes are usually non-violent such as fraud, embezzlement, forgery, shoplifting, robbery, and pushing drugs.

Let us sum up these findings. Problem gamblers are likely to commit crimes. Although a majority of them are non-violent, these criminal activities can lead to the detriment of a community.

Methods to Improve Problem Gambling Statistics

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It is never too late for people to get crushed by problem gambling. All it takes for an individual to get through the debilitating mental state is to be aware of their problem and seek professional help. Unfortunately, more than 60% of individuals with gambling issues stated that they want help and only 25% of these groups sought professional intervention. In addition, only 5.4% of these individuals have participated in treatment for gambling addiction and other self-help groups.

Holistic treatment, involving a comprehensive diagnosis and correction of a person's lifestyle, is seen to be effective among problem gamblers. About 8% of Gamblers Anonymous members who participate in group therapy as well as going through holistic treatment and psychotherapy have achieved a year of abstinence from gambling.

Psychotherapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which allow an individual to find a coping mechanism on their own whenever they feel the urge to gamble.

Organizations spreading awareness of problem gambling recommend everyone to be familiar with the signs of gambling addiction. Should you or anyone you know are showing any of these signs, look for a local problem gambling treatment group and seek help.

problem gambling statistics
Statistics about pathological gambling habits.

Gambling Addiction Stats: FAQ

Answers to some common questions about statistics about gambling addiction.

What is problem gambling?

This gambling behavior has caused harm to an individual in terms of mental health and finances. Those who are going through problem gambling issues are likely to harm themselves and their loved ones.

Which demographic are at risk of problem gambling? 

Men are likely to experience pathological gambling problems such as depression and substance addiction. This is due to a significant number of women who started gambling at a later age. However, women who do gamble are more likely to experience gambling addiction than men.

Are casinos and other establishments the reason for problem gambling? 

Licensed brick-and-mortar casinos and online gambling sites have several measures to deal with problem gambling within their establishment. On the other hand, finding an escape from other problems such as job loss and depression is the primary reason for problem gambling.

Is problem gambling a serious issue within first-world countries?

Problem gambling is a global issue due to its impact on oneself and surrounding communities. Gambling addiction does not occur among rich individuals. Everyone within a developing or developed country with access to any gambling establishment is at risk of pathological problem gambling if left unchecked.

Can problem gambling affect crime rates? 

Individuals are willing to commit various criminal activities to finance their gambling activities. White-collared groups are the ones likely to perform non-violent crimes due to gambling such as drug pushing, stealing, and embezzlement.

As you can tell from the problem gambling data and stats, gambling addiction is a mental illness that can harm both the individual as well as their family, friends, and co-workers. Those who are suffering from gambling addiction are willing to commit crimes to fulfill their urges. Be aware of problem gambling signs to know if any individual connected to you requires professional help.