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Friday, April 29, 2016

2016’s Most Gambling-Addicted States, Montana 4th gambling-addicted state, study says

Montana 4th gambling-addicted state, study says

Phil Drake

April 27, 2016

Montana ranked fourth in terms of being the most gambling-addicted state, according to a study released Tuesday by a consumer advocacy website.

The Treasure State was third when it came to gambling friendliness and 38th when it came to gambling problems and treatment rank, WalletHub’s study found.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, given how gambling is on every street corner,” said Charles Sygowski, director of office administration with Delaware Council on Problem Gambling, which handles calls for the Montana Council on Problem Gambling. “Any kind of package store can have a separate room that has 10-20 machines in it.”

Neil Peterson, executive director of the Gaming Industry Association of Montana, said he read the report and had questions.

“I see their methodology, but I can’t get any information for how they came up with the points,” he said, adding he was surprised Montana ranked above New Jersey, where there is more betting, and Oklahoma, where there is open-ended gambling.

“It’s confusing to me,” he said.


2016’s Most Gambling-Addicted States

Gambling exists in every state — even Hawaii and Utah, where gambling is prohibited by law — but not everyone gambles the same. First, there are “recreational” or “social” gamblers who might, for instance, buy the occasional scratcher, take the rare casino trip or bet small stakes in fantasy sports. But they also possess the mental capacity to quit at any point and prevent catastrophic financial loss. Then there are “professional” gamblers — the likes of math genius Edward Thorp and high-stakes sports bettor Bill Krackomberger — who gamble well enough to make a living out of it while separating work from personal life.
But when the business or pleasure gets out of control, gambling becomes a real medical condition. Gambling disorder, as the affliction is known, affects slightly more than 2 percent of all U.S. adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.”
That addiction can lead to serious economic consequences. On a societal level, compulsive gambling costs an estimated $6 billion per year, according to a study by the National Council on Problem Gambling. Individually, a male gambling addict accumulates an average debt between $55,000 and $90,000 whereas a female averages $15,000, by one estimate. Most do not have adequate resources to pay back what they owe. As a result, gambling addicts develop a high tendency to amass even more debt, suffer from other health issues, lose their jobs, strain their relationships or even commit crimes.
The gambling problem, however, is much bigger in some states than in others. With the upcoming Kentucky Derby reminding Americans to have fun while keeping their gambling habits in check, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states to determine where the problem of excessive gambling is most prevalent. Our data set of 13 key metrics ranges from “presence of illegal gambling operations” to “lottery sales per capita” to “percentage of people with gambling disorders.” Continue reading below for our findings, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

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