WalletHub Releases its Most Gambling Addicted States List of 2018May 2, 2018 9:33 am
WalletHub, a personal finance website, has been evaluating the USA’s most gambling addicted states since 2016, and it will come as little surprise to learn that Nevada has topped their report for the past three years.
More surprising, however, was the placement of other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania which appeared low down on the list at number 8 and 27 respectively, while South Dakota, Montana, Mississippi, and Louisiana joined the Silver State in completing the top five.
19 Key Metric Indicators
WalletHub studied 19 key metrics in order to determine where in the country excessive gambling is most prevalent, with the various categories divided into two main areas, namely “gambling friendliness” and “gambling problem and treatment.” Factors which were subsequently considered included gambling regulations, illegal gambling operations, the number of casinos, machines and lottery sales per capita, and the percentage of adults with a gambling addiction.
Nevada Most Addicted State
Nevada is the USA’s biggest gambling market, and last year its gambling industry generated a record $26.2 billion in revenue, and paid $852.2 million in gambling taxes. With the state home to two of the most gambling-concentrated areas in the country, Las Vegas and Reno, it comes as little surprise that Nevada ranked first in gambling friendliness, most casinos and machines per capita, and was named WalletHub’s most gambling-addicted state, despite it coming in at 10th in terms of gambling problem and treatment.
Instead of the country’s other larger gambling markets appearing next on the list, however, the next most gambling-addicted states included South Dakota, Montana, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Furthermore, the situation in these states continues to raise cause for concern, with all but Louisiana having appeared in the top five for 2017, and Louisiana having pushed up recently in 2018 from 9th on the list to 5th.
Last year’s report also placed South Dakota in second place, and helping to explain its continued troubling situation is the fact this year it was ranked number 3 in terms of both casinos and machines per capita, with problem gambling on the rise due to a proliferation in the number of casinos and video lotteries in the state.
While Mississippi is the fourth most gambling-addicted state, it actually has a higher percentage of adults with gambling disorders than other states, and ties with Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey for having the highest number of gambling-related arrests. Commenting upon the situation, Stuart Milan, a certified compulsive gambling counselor, explained that the problem has escalated since casinos first opened in the 90’s, stating:
“In Mississippi, there’s a gamblers anonymous meeting at least once a day in the state. So, right there, tells you the problems real.. You can exclude yourself from the casino for either five years or lifetime. If you break that exclusion, meaning if you go back into the casino or the property, you actually get arrested. And I’ve seen many people get arrested for it.”
US Problem Gambling On The Rise
Developing compulsive gambling behavior can result in severe damage to important facets of a person’s life, including affecting their health, relationships, careers and, of course, their finances. In the US, it is estimated that between 1-3% of adults suffer from gambling addiction, with male addicts on average going $55,000 to $90,000 in debt, often resulting in range of negative consequence, including unpayable debts, crime, depression, and even suicide.
Nevertheless, there has been a proliferation of gambling venues across America in recent years, with states looking to expand their land based operations, and even legalize online gambling, arguing that regulated gambling safeguards consumers from unscrupulous offshore sites. Furthermore, there are currently around 20 states prepared to launch sports betting markets should the Supreme Court overturn PASPA in the coming weeks.