Posted: July 7th, 2016 | By: Richie Bernardo
Professor Tim Davis was featured in the WalletHub article, “2016′s Most Gambling-Addicted States,” by Richie Bernardo. The article analyzes and discusses states’ gambling trends and laws. It also includes a study that uses data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Gaming Association, National Council on Problem Gambling and more.
In the article, the study’s main findings and methodology are outlined, and a number of graphics and tables are included. Professor Davis was interviewed about sports gambling among nine other experts in the ”Ask the Experts” section. His interview, as well as the body of the article, follow.
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.
Over the years, more advanced technology has paved the way for new forms of gambling such as iGaming, online fantasy sports and video poker. And while the estimated $240 billion gaming industry is no doubt a major contributor to the U.S. economy, its critics argue that gambling leads to social and economic problems, including gambling disorder and regressive taxes on residents of local economies where gambling facilities are present. For better insight on such issues, we turned to a panel of gaming-industry experts. Click on their profiles to read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:
- Should sports betting be legal in all states? What are its pros and cons?
- Should daily fantasy sports be regulated as gambling?
- On balance, are state lotteries a good idea? Is there a way to make them less regressive?
- What are the signs someone is addicted to gambling? What should friends and family do to help?