Study Finds States Most Addicted to Gambling in 2023

Most Gambling Addicted States
A new study has found that Nevada is the most gambling-addicted state in the USA. Keep reading for the full results.

A study by has found that the state most addicted to gambling is Nevada. As it is home to the gambling capital of the United States, this seems hardly surprising, but the other results may shock you.

How The Rankings Were Determined

The research team determined the states where gambling addiction is most widespread by analysing 20 metrics that fall into two categories: Gambling Friendliness and Problem Gambling & Treatment.

Gambling Friendliness was given a points total of 70, taking into account various statistics such as:

  • Casinos per capita
  • Gaming machines per 1,000 residents
  • iGaming revenue per capita
  • Lottery sales per capita
  • Presence of retail gaming
  • Presence of illegal gambling
  • The legality of daily fantasy sports, sports betting and horse race betting
  • Search volume for gambling-related keywords, such as “lottery”, “casino”, “blackjack”, wtc

Problem Gambling and treatment were given a points total of 30, based on:

  • Number of adults with gambling disorders
  • Gambling counselors per capita
  • Gambling Anonymous meetings per capita
  • Whether or not the NCPG is associated with gambling brands in the state
  • Whether there is a state-side self-exclusion statute
  • Gambling-related arrests per capita

The firm used data collected from the US Census Bureau Gaming Association, National Council on Problem Gambling, the FBI, PlayUSA and more.

Full Ranking of the Most Gambling-Addicted States

Are you living a state where gambling addiction is prevalent, or are the residents of your home state less affected by gambling harm? Check out WalletHub’s full ranking:

1 Nevada 14 Illinois 27 Missouri 40 Kentucky
2 South Dakota 15 Colorado 28 South Carolina 41 Connecticut
3 Montana 16 Minnesota 29 New Mexico 42 Florida
4 Louisiana 17 Delaware 30 North Carolina 43 Nebraska
4 Mississippi 18 Iowa 31 Indiana 44 Kansas
6 New Jersey 19 Rhode Island 32 Maryland 45 Wisconsin
7 Oklahoma 20 New York 33 Idaho 46 Maine
8 West Virginia 21 Tennessee 34 New Hampshire 47 Hawaii
9 Pennsylvania 22 Michigan 35 Arizona 48 Alaska
10 Oregon 23 Ohio 36 Arkansas 49 Vermont
11 California 24 Virginia 37 Washington 50 Utah
12 Texas 25 Massachusetts 38 Georgia
13 North Dakota 26 Wyoming 39 Alabama

Something that really stands out about these findings is that the prevalence of gambling addiction doesn’t necessarily correlate with the prevalence of legalized gambling. In Tennessee, there are no casinos but it ranks #21 – much, much higher than states like Georgia and Hawaii where gambling is also illegal.

It raises the point about the availability of gambling and its relationship to gambling addicition. So, what really is the cause?

Expert Opinions on Problem Gambling

What makes this report even more interesting is its inclusion of opinions from experts in the field, addressing specific issues around gambling addiction. Plentiful of valuable insight was provided, with Katherine Spilde, Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming making an important point about gambling addiction often being part of a larger mental health issue.
“Friends and family can help people who struggle with gambling by encouraging them to address all their mental health needs and not simply “focus on the money.” Avoiding gambling is generally not sufficient to find relief from addiction since casinos or gambling games do not cause addiction but rather reveal it”.
She states that, 75% of the time, problem gambling has comorbidity with other issues such as mental illness and substance abuse. In 90% of such cases, gambling addiction was preceded by other issues.
This is an important topic to explore, as it raises a point about mental health support across the United States. While gambling addiction treatment is necessary, support for other forms of substance abuse and mental illness are necessary to really tackle the issue.

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