Thursday, April 17, 2014
1-800-522-4700 24 Hour Confidential Hotline
The National Council on Problem Gambling
730 11th St, NW, Ste 601
Washington, DC 20001
Phone 202.547.9204
Fax 202.547.9206


Facts and Figures


  • 75% of US adults have gambled at least once in the last year, 15% at least weekly.
  • Since 1975, the proportion of adults who "never gambled" dropped from 1 in 3 to 1 in 7.
  • 48 States and a majority of tribes have some form of legalized gambling (Hawaii and Utah are the exceptions).
  •  $95 billion in gaming revenue is generated by casinos tracks and state lotteries.
  •  $7 billion is the annual social cost of gambling-related addiction, bankruptcy and crime.
  •  $6 billion per year in Federal tax renevue comes from individual gambling winnings.
  •  6 million adults and 500,000 teens meet criteria for gambling addiction.


It is important to recognize that most people can gamble without negative consequences. A small percentage, however, of persons who gamble suffer enormous social, economic, and psychological implications. Individuals, families and communities all suffer from problem gambling, and, while it would be impossible to describe all of the repercussions associated with problem gambling, the following issues help to illustrate why problem gambling can be so destructive.

Domestic Issues

Effects of Adult Problem Gambling on Children:

  • "Children of compulsive gamblers are often prone to suffer abuse, as well as neglect, as a result of parental problem or pathological gambling" (NORC, 1999)
  • Research consistently shows higher rates of pathological gambling in teens whose parents gamble too much (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997; Jacobs, 2000; Wallisch & Liu, 1996)
  • Children of problem gamblers have been shown to have higher levels of use for tobacco, alcohol, drug use, and overeating than do their classroom peers (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997)
  • Child endangerment and child abuse may increase (NRC, 1999)
  • The NRC reported on two studies indicating between 10 and 17 percent of children of compulsive gamblers had been abused" (NRC, 1999)
  • Child endangerment was exemplified in Oregon with the September 2001 report of an Oregon licensed day-care provider who left three children (1, 2 and 3 years old) in a van for over 11 hours while she gambled in a casino (Lawrence-Turner, 2001, September 15)

Domestic Violence

  • According to the National Research Council (1999), studies indicate that between 25-50 percent of spouses of pathological gamblers have been abused
  • Case studies of 10 casino communities revealed that the majority of those communities witnessed increases in domestic violence related to the opening of casinos (National Opinion Research Center, 1999)


  • Several studies suggest that crime rates rise with increased availability of gambling to communities, but this issue is under intense debate
  • Forty percent of clients enrolled in Oregon’s gambling treatment system reported committing crimes to finance their gambling (Moore, 2003)
  • “As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble” (NRC, 1999)
  • Studies of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) members report that approximately half of the participants had stolen to gamble and over one-third had been arrested (Thompson, Gazel, & Rickman, 1996)
  • The vast majority of gambling-related crimes are non-violent; embezzlement, check forgery, stealing credit cards, fencing stolen goods, tax evasion, insurance fraud, employee theft and fraud are common gambling-related crimes


  • Ten percent of clients enrolled in Oregon’s gambling treatment system considered and formulated plans to commit suicide within six months of enrollment to treatment (Moore, 2003)
  • A major depressive disorder is likely to occur in 76 percent of pathological gamblers (Unwin Davis, & Leeuw, 2000)


1998 Gross Annual Wager Report. International Gaming and Business Wagering (IGBW) Trade Magazine. (1999, August). Retrieved 2/21/02, from

Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J.L. (1997). Familial and social influences on juvenile gambling behavior. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), 179-192.

Lawrence-Turner, J. (9/15/01). Toddlers left in van for 11 hours. Statesman Journal. Retrieved online 3/11/02, from

National Opinion Research Center (NORC). (1999). Gambling Impact and Behavior Study, Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission [Electronic Version]. Chicago, IL: Author.

National Research Council (NRC). (1999). Pathological Gambling: A Critical Review. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Thompson, W., Gazel, R., Rickman, D. (1996). The social cost of gambling in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Report, 9, 144.

Unwin, B.K., Davis, M.K., & Leeuw, J.B. (2000). Pathological gambling. American Family Physician, February 2000, 61, 741-749.

Wallisch, L., & Liu, L. (1996). Drug use and gambling behavior among adults and youths in Texas: Survey findings. In: Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Volume II: 433-457.



About Youth Gambling
International Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors.
“ Youth Gambling: A Clinical and Research Perspective.” From The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues; prominent researchers Jeffrey Derevensky and Rina Gupta provide an overview of youth gambling problems and review of recent youth gambling research.

Help and Treatment
Self-Assessment Quiz from the Oregon Lottery Help website.
Official Gamblers Anonymous website.
Gam-Anon. Support for spouse, family, or close friends of the problem gambler.
International Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators website. Also is the host for information on National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.
National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. website. Provides information on state affiliates, a counselor search, and other resources.

About Athletes and Gambling
University of Michigan athletics gambling education. Contains research and articles on gambling for anyone involved with athletics, as well as video clips about athletes with gambling problems.
Harvard’s The WAGER journal report on risk behaviors among athletes and non-athletes.
“ A Comparison of Problem Gambling Rates Between College Athletes and Non-Athletes in the Southeastern Conference” (.pdf). A research study; you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader application to view this file.

Problem Gambling Research
Oregon Gambling Addiction Treatment Foundation. A research and education resource for gambling addiction treatment professionals.
The Weekly Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER) is a research bulletin published by the Division on Addictions at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling; it is intended to disseminate information about the study of pathological gambling.
Alberta Gaming Research Institute Library Weblog. Provides a selection of Internet gambling research resources updated regularly.
The “Reports and Links” section offers a number of international research studies and reports available online.
National Gaming Impact Study Commission Final Report, 1999.
The Responsible Gambling Council (Ontario) provides a collection of more than 2,500 articles, reports and documents on a “wide range of gambling-related issues.” Click the “e-Library” link to reach the gambling prevention and awareness resource e-library.
Problem gambling: A bibliography. North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) provides a number of research resources divided into categories related to problem gambling.

For Non-English Speakers
Problem gambling information in 11 languages.
Spanish: Addición al juego. Un sitio dedicada a adicciones en general, también se enfoca en la “adicción” al juego. (Gambling addiction. A site focused on general addictions, this page focuses on gambling “addiction.”)
Spanish: Juego patológico (ludopatía) en españa. Más información y enlaces sobre el juego patológico; artículos (dirigido a los profesionales) de investigaciones sobre el juego patológico. (Pathological gambling – a site from Spain. More information and links about pathological gambling; articles for professionals on studies related to pathological gambling.)

General Prevention/Treatment Resources
Web of Addictions. Provides a host of information and links related to alcohol and other drug addictions.
Social Marketing Institute. “Social marketing” link offers educational papers and conference information related to social marketing issues.
Northwestern Frontier Addictions Technology Transfer Center. Offers a number of resources for addictions professionals, including Addictions Messenger, a monthly online treatment journal, information on education and trainings, and information on grants.