The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and other sources note the following statistics.
- 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week.
- Approximately two to three percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. That's around 6 million adults and about a half million teens.
- Youth risk developing a gambling problem at a rate of about two to three times that of adults, and approximately 6 percent of college students in America have a gambling problem.
- About 40 percent of people with a gambling problem started gambling before the age of 17.
- Nevada has the highest prevalence of problem gambling in the country, at about 6.4 percent.
Effects of Problem Gambling
There are an array of harmful effects arising from problem gambling, including:
- NCPG notes the annual cost associated with gambling (crime, addiction, and bankruptcy) is $17 billion.
- Approximately 76 percent of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder, according to the NCPG.
- The NPCG also says children of problem gamblers are at higher risk for a number of behaviors including problem gambling, tobacco use, and drug use.
- Oregon Problem Gambling Resource states that about 10 to 17 percent of children of problem gamblers and about 25 to 50 percent of spouses of problem gamblers have been abused.
- Georgia State University (GSU) estimates that about 50 percent of problem gamblers commit crimes, and about 2/3 of those crimes were directly related to the gambling.
- GSU also notes that 73 percent of people who are incarcerated are identified as problem gamblers.
- An Australian study found that one in five suicidal patients had a gambling problem.