Although the United States is typically considered a quite conservative and restrictive country when it comes to casinos and betting, gambling exists in every state – in one form or another. Nevada, home to the world-famous gambling destination of Las Vegas, ranks as America’s most gambling-addicted state and while this finding comes as no surprise, the ranking of other states in a newly published study is unexpected, to say the least.
The new study conducted by financial advice website WalletHub reveals which of the 50 states have the highest rates of excessive gambling. Researchers have compared data in 19 key metrics ranging from lottery sales per capita to percentage of adults with gambling disorders in order to determine where people are most likely to develop some kind of gambling addiction. The report cites official statistics from the US National Council on Problem Gambling, according to which, gambling disorder affects between 1 and 3 per cent of American adults. It also points out that each year, consumers in the United States incur total gambling losses of over $100 billion, which result in debt, health issues, job loss, increased crime, and serious economic consequences.
Nevada tops the list of gambling-addicted states due to its high “gambling friendliness”, but it is Mississippi that has the highest percentage of adults with gambling disorders. The Magnolia State is the 7th most gambling-friendly place according to the study and the 4th in the overall ranking. However, the Mississippi Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling says that WalletHub did not contact them for statistics. The agency is also curious where the data originated and what figures the study was based on. But let us get back to the findings of the research, which is conducted for the third time by WalletHub. The second most gambling-addicted state is South Dakota, followed by Montana. Mississippi is fourth, while Louisiana comes fifth, and rounding up the top 10 come West Virginia (6th), Oregon (7th), New Jersey (8th), Illinois (9th), and Oklahoma (10th).
Analysis of 19 Key Metrics And 2 Main Dimensions
In order to assess the prevalence of gambling addiction and its harmful effects in each of the 50 states, researchers compared data across two main dimensions – “gambling-friendliness” and “gambling problem & treatment”. They reviewed 19 relevant metrics to evaluate these two major areas grading them from 1 to 100. The full list of 19 indicators included casinos per capita, gaming machines per 1,000 residents, iGaming and limited-stakes revenues per capita, commercial casino revenues per capita, lottery sales per capita, presence of retail gaming, legality of horse racing, sports wagering and Daily Fantasy Sports, Google search interest index for “gambling”, and presence of illegal gambling operations.
The rest of the indicators were each state’s percentage of adults with gambling disorders, gambling-related arrests per capita, and several other metrics that looked at the presence of prevention and treatment programs. Looking the best states in the ranking, we can say that Alabama and New Mexico seem to be dealing very well in preventing problem gambling. According to the results, New Mexico has the lowest percentage of adults with gambling disorders, followed by New York, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, and Michigan. And the fewest gambling-related arrests (per capita) have been reported in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Montana and Nebraska.
As expected, the most casinos per capita are in Nevada, but there are many commercial and tribal casinos also in Oklahoma, South Dakota, New Mexico and Montana. The most gaming machines per capita are, once again, in Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Next in this ranking are Montana and Mississippi. Arkansas has the fewest casinos per capita, according to the study, while Georgia is home to the lowest number of gaming machines. One of the most important highlights of the research, however, is the ranking of the top 5 states with the highest percentage of problem gamblers. Surprisingly, Mississippi is the state with the most gambling addictions, followed by Minnesota, Kansas, New Jersey, and Nevada.