According to findings in a new, first-of-its-kind study “After age 21, problem gambling is considerably more common among U.S. adults than alcohol dependence, even though alcohol dependence has received much more attention, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.”
Several findings include:
- Gambling, frequent gambling and problem gambling increases in frequency during the teen years, reaches its highest level in the 20s and 30s and then fall off among those over 70.
- Professor John Welte claims, “No comparable analysis has been done previously and therefore none is available for a direct comparison of these results … But, given what we found about the persistence of frequent and problem gambling through adulthood, increased prevention and intervention efforts are warranted.”
- Other results detailed in the article raise concern for college-aged students (late teens). Frequent gambling is twice as great among men (28 percent) as among women (13 percent). Men reach their highest gambling rates in the late teens, while females take longer to reach their highest rates.
- Frequent and problem gambling become more prevalent as socioeconomic status gets lower (more common among the poor). Professor Welte had previously suspected that poorer Americans may pursue gambling as a way to make money – not as recreation or “entertainment.”
This is a landmark study, especially since most of us know at least one adult with a drinking problem. The gambling lobby has long minimized the extent of gambling addiction, even after the National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimated more than 15 million adults and adolescents suffered from gambling addictions.
Here’s my question: If more adults are addicted to gambling than to alcohol, should our states be expanding the availability and accessibility of gambling while zeroing out funding for gambling addiction programs? Can anyone else smell bad policy?
Source: Citizen Link