Nevada’s Guide to Gambling Addiction: Hotlines, Statistics and Other Resources
Gambling can be a safe and enjoyable activity for individuals who make responsible wagers and approach it as a form of recreation. But for others, the consistent need to bet irresponsible amounts in hopes of winning money can lead to, or be a symptom of, gambling addiction, a condition that negatively impacts people’s lives.
People facing gambling addiction are often identified by symptoms that include having a constant need to gamble with large or increasing amounts of money, or feeling anxious or uneasy during periods when they are not gambling. These individuals may hide the extent of their gambling problems from family and close friends and may even resort to illegal means to obtain more money for gambling. Even beyond the potential to win money, some people with a gambling addiction are motivated by a particular thrill they get from gambling, while others use it as a coping mechanism to escape from challenging emotions.
In the United States, two million adults are “estimated to meet the criteria for pathological gambling in a given year,” reports the National Council on Problem Gaming. And, “There is no ‘typical’ gambling addict. Gambling addiction affects all age groups, both sexes and all socioeconomic groups. This means we are all at risk of developing an addiction to gambling,” according to ADT Healthcare. The ways a gambling addiction can manifest include playing games at casinos, spending money on digital gambling platforms like online poker or betting on sports. Additionally, there is no set amount of money a person needs to lose to have a gambling problem.
It can be difficult for the friends or family of individuals with a gambling addiction to know the extent to which it is impacting their loved one’s life, as that person could hide or lie about the damage his or her addiction is inflicting and may not show any external signs of having a problem. But gambling addiction can lead to negative financial and health outcomes, including suicide. “Five percent of all suicides are related to compulsive gambling,” writes Dr. Phil Kronk for Knox News.
Gambling addiction hotlines are available for individuals who believe they may be at risk. These hotlines also support friends, families, colleagues and communities who are concerned about a loved one’s gambling problem. Hotlines and other resources can help individuals address and overcome their problems related to gambling and live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Facts and Statistics Regarding Gambling Addiction
According to the Mayo Clinic, compulsive gambling “is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value.” By that definition, gambling addiction can be found in other environments besides casinos, racetracks and similar betting environments. The addiction can reveal itself anyplace a person is willing to lose something valuable, like a car or a house, in hopes of gaining something else. Before looking at how gambling addiction hotlines and other resources help individuals with gambling problems, it’s important to understand the effects and toll that gambling addiction can have on a person’s life.
A. Financial impact of gambling addiction
- Ninety percent of individuals suffering from gambling addiction withdraw cash advances from their credit cards to gamble. [Debt.org]
Heavy interest charges on credit cards lead to people paying much more over time than the amount they initially withdrew. Additionally, if these individuals cannot pay back their credit card bills, they face more financial consequences besides losing money through gambling, such as lower credit scores, being denied loans and mortgages, or entering bankruptcy.
- In 2017, the approximate amount of money lost through regulated gambling such as casinos and lotteries was $107 billion. [H2 Gambling Capital]
Based on data from H2 Gambling Capital, a gambling data firm, MarketWatch illustrated how the amount of money lost through gambling was expected to grow to potentially $7.5 billion by 2030.
- According to past research, 22.8% of pathological gamblers had declared bankruptcy. [Comprehensive Psychiatry]
Comprehensive Psychiatry’s research also noted that “PG subjects with a bankruptcy history had significantly greater rates of depressive and substance use disorders.”
- Nine percent of the take-home incomes of households making less than $13,000 a year go to state lotteries. [Salon]
Because they’re one of the most popular and easily accessible forms of legalized gambling, and initially one of the cheapest to play, lower-income individuals can end up spending a large percentage of their income on lottery games or tickets.
B. Mental and emotional health effects of gambling addiction
- Compulsive gambling can be associated with mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [Mayo Clinic]
While gambling addiction isn’t necessarily a cause of these conditions, it can exacerbate the symptoms and effects of these illnesses.
- Research indicates divorce rates are higher for pathological gamblers than low-risk gamblers and nongamblers. [Journal of General Internal Medicine]
“Rates of divorce were 39.5% and 53.5% in problem and pathological gamblers, respectively, as compared with 29.8% in low-risk gamblers and 18.2% in nongamblers,” according to a report. These percentages were determined in past research conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
- A person is deemed to be a pathological gambler or have a gambling addiction if he or she meets five out of 11 criteria. [Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine]
These criteria can include illegal acts, loss of control, withdrawal, history of putting a significant relationship or job at risk, or chasing, the act where a gambler tries to recuperate past losses with more gambling.
Additionally, in cities where gambling is legal, the suicide rate is much higher than in the rest of the country.
C. Challenges facing those with a gambling addiction
- Men with a gambling addiction were twice as likely to have witnessed violence at home or experienced physical abuse or assault growing up. [HuffPost]
Additionally, these individuals were “more than three times as likely to have suffered a serious or life-threatening injury as kids.”
- A study showed that pathological gambling was the 13th most stigmatized mental illness among a group of 40. [Journal of Gambling Studies]
“‘Problem gamblers’ have been stereotyped as compulsive, impulsive, desperate, irresponsible, risk-taking, depressed, greedy, irrational, antisocial and aggressive,” according to a study from the Journal of Gambling Issues.
- According to studies, 71% of people with a gambling addiction have never sought professional treatment or self-help groups. [Journal of Gambling Studies]
This could be due to a number of factors, including individuals with a gambling addiction not recognizing they have a problem, the stigma associated with pathological gaming or lack of awareness regarding support or treatment options.
Gambling Addiction Hotlines and Additional Resources
Gambling addiction and its effects can negatively impact an individual’s life financially, emotionally, mentally and physically. But there are resources available to those struggling with this condition.
A. Gambling addiction hotline and digital resources
The National Problem Gambling Helpline, 1-800-522-4700, is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential. This gambling hotline connects callers to local health and government organizations that can assist with their gambling addiction. The hotline is available from the National Council on Problem Gambling, which also offers text services at 800-522-4700, as well as chat services through www.ncpgambling.org/chat. The organization also offers a comprehensive list of resources that can help an individual with gambling addiction. The National Council on Problem Gambling offers specific resources for Nevada residents as well.
Those with a gambling addiction may also battle substance abuse issues and be at risk of suicide. As such, they can call the National Drug Helpline, 1-888-633-3239, or the National Suicide Prevention Line, 1-800-273-8255. Gamblers Anonymous Organization is an organization that helps individuals recover from gambling problems. It provides a list of U.S. hotlines available by state, FAQs regarding problem gambling and a 20-question quiz to help individuals determine if they may have a gambling addiction.
B. Community and support groups
In addition to resources that can help people discover if they are addicted to gambling, Gamblers Anonymous also holds meetings at various locations across the U.S. to assist individuals who have a gambling addiction or believe they may have one. The organization also conducts meetings in several international locations. Depending on which state a gambling addict resides in, there may be additional resources and services available to them from Gamblers Anonymous as well.
C. Tips for helping and communicating with people with a gambling addiction
The BetterHealth Channel, available from the Victoria State Government, provides a list of resources that individuals can use when communicating with and helping a person with a gambling addiction. BetterHealth recommends that people recognize that they are not at fault for another person’s gambling addiction, practice financial discipline and engage in honest communication.
GamCare offers support and treatment tools, such as hotlines and live chats, to individuals who have been affected by someone else’s gambling addiction. Additionally, Gamblers Addiction also hosts “open” meetings, where spouses, family and other people close to someone with a gambling addiction can attend.