Gambling is one of the most lucrative vices in America. Casinos earn approximately $125 billion in revenue each year as the average American loses almost $400 per year to gambling. In preparation for Anti-Gambling Sunday (September 21), here are five facts you should know about gambling in America:
1. In 2012, there were an estimated 5.77 million disordered gamblers in the U.S. in need of treatment. Of this number, 10,387 individuals were treated in U.S. state-funded problem gambling treatment programs. These figures suggest that in 2012 state-funded treatment was provided to less than one quarter of one percent (0.18 percent) of those in need.
2. Legalized gambling is available in every state except for Utah and Hawaii. This includes state lotteries, which are in 42 states, Puerto Rico and Washington DC. Lotteries were illegal for most of the 20th century, but that changed in 1964 when New Hampshire—a state without an income tax— reinstituted a state lottery. In 2008, during the height of the recession, at least 22 of the 42 states with lotteries set sales records.
3. A large-scale study in 2004 also found that people who live within 10 miles of a casino have twice the rate of pathological and problem gambling as those who do not. Problem gamblers account for 40 to 60 percent of slot machine revenues, according to studies conducted over the past decade.
4. According to one study, 27.1 percent of gamblers who reported spending over 5 percent of their gross family income monthly, also report experiencing serious problems because of their gambling habit, including health problems, high debts, financial issues, or guilt and other negative emotions. Another study of members of Gamblers Anonymous found that upwards of 26 percent have gambling-related divorces or separations.
5. Approximately 4-6 percent of high school students are addicted to gambling, and another 10-14 percent are at risk of developing an addiction, which means that they already show signs of losing control over their gambling behavior.
Other Articles in the 5 Facts Series:
Truett Cathy • Hunger in America • Suicide in America • Christian Persecution • Supreme Court’s contraceptive mandate decision • Fathers and Fathers Day • Euthanasia in Europe • Marriage in America • March for Life • Abortion in America • ‘War on Poverty’