Operating out of Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has established itself as a trusted resource for insights into the state of gambling in the continental US.
Their latest report is an extension of the work provided in The National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE) which delved into the realities of gambling and more specifically problematic behaviours at a state level which they then combine to create a no-nonsense view of the US gambling industry.
Gambling Education Is Failing in America
While the newly released National Detailed Report and State Detailed Reports contain a wealth of information pertaining to several key gambling areas the most concerning revelation was of the increase in problem gambling behaviours in the 18 to 35 year old demographic.
Three of the most concerning statistics from the report are:
- 50% of under 35s were shown to be at risk of becoming problem gamblers.
- Sports bettors were more likely to “lie to hide gambling” and “rely on others to pay debts”.
- Many gamblers claim not to understand the core mechanics of gambling.
With America becoming an increasingly pro-gambling country it is imperative that gambling education is also normalised. This will ensure that the potentially vulnerable sub-35 demographic is equipped to handle the social, emotional, and financial realities of gambling.
Local gambling authorities will need to follow in the footsteps of their UK, Dutch and Swedish counterparts in dispelling the many myths surrounding gambling addiction. Especially with sports bettors showing higher signs of risk than other gambling niches they need to learn that addiction is not specific to games of chance but is a reality for all gamblers regardless of game preference.
Highlights of the NCPG Report
In addition to highlight the current lack of gambling education and increased risk of addiction among younger players, the reports also included the following points of interest:
- Gambling is booming as an American pastime – 75% of respondents admitted to gambling in the past year with the majority gambling across three different platforms or events.
- American's will disregard the law to gamble – despite state based restrictions 50% of gamblers admitted to gambling knowing it was illegal. While 15% of respondents admitted to gambling online despite not living in a state where it is legal.
- Money myths around gambling prevail – More than 15% of respondents said they believe gambling more is the best way to offset losses. With the same percentage claiming that gambling is a viable method of making money.
- Problem gambling is still stigmatised in the US – more than 50% of respondents considered gambling addiction either a matter of poor character, moral weakness, or a lack of willpower.
Reading the detailed state level reporting on the above key issues highlights how vital the work of organisations such as the National Council on Problem Gambling is, and just how far America still must go in order to ensure a gambling industry that serves the business and revenue generation needs of the country while protecting its most valuable asset, its people.