The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) believes that at least 2 million adults in the United States suffer from gambling addiction. This is a serious tally, especially given the implications for at-risk gamblers. The NCPG believes that another 4-6 million people are actually at a mild to moderate risk of experiencing or developing gambling problems.
Gamblers’ Likelihood to Seek Help
The NCPG read into the industry delves deeper, reading into consumer habits and the frequency of gambling. According to the organization, 85% of interviewed Americans confirmed that they had gambled in their lives. An estimated 60% did so in the 12 months leading up to the interview.
NCPG’s data-collection effort has been inspired by another research published in “Addiction” a peer-reviewed publication that looks into the problem of gambling addiction in particular. According to the study, 10 million adults tried seeking help globally. The study, though, revealed another trend.
From those who were at mild risk of developing a problem one in 25 reached for help, with those who had a serious gambling problem reaching only one in five times of the cases. This has given the NCPG an incentive to seek and better understand how gambling addiction is evolving and impacting society, especially now that 35 states have legal sports betting.
The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network has confirmed that in 2021, it saw a 45% year-over-year increase in the number of calls placed to it. While a worrying trend, there is some reason for optimism, with people probably realizing the underlying issue and seeking to address it. Still, publicly-funded programs may not be entirely sufficiently equipped to address the problem, as there may not be enough money to keep up with everyone who needs help.
Extrapolating Data for the US and How to Help
While the study posted in Addiction focuses on gambling globally, the NCPG has direct data on what the situation in the United States. With 35 states legalizing sports betting and at least 48 states having some kind of gambling, except for Utah and Hawaii, the tally of people struggling with gambling is likely to continue climbing up.
There is also a lot of chatter about legalizing iGaming which will no doubt add more pressure to problem gambling helplines in the United States. The issue to address now, though, seems how to bring more of those suffering from gambling addiction on the line. One in five is too big a tally according to some researchers, meaning that the majority of gamblers go untreated and slide further down the issue.