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.