Problem Gamblers

You might feel like you are in over your head. You may have creditors hounding you or be going through bankruptcy or foreclosure. You might have family problems or trouble at work. You are not alone.

There is help, there is hope, and there is a way to have a normal life again.

Research indicates that approximately 83% of adults (21 and over) in California have gambled at some time in their lives. For most, gambling is entertainment – but for some, it can become a problem. Roughly 3.7% of adults are problem or pathological gamblers. Using data from the 2010 census, this means that about 1,200,000 Californians have a gambling problem!1

Gambling addiction is treatable, but you are the only one who can make the decision to stop. Now is the time to get help and recover from the problem!

Problem Gambling

Risk Groups

Gambling addiction can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime. However, certain groups of people (“populations”) are at greater risk of developing a gambling problem than others. Being a member of one of the below populations does not mean that you will develop a problem, but that you have a higher chance of developing an addiction. Conversely, even if you are not a member of the below populations, it is still possible to develop an addiction!

Societal Impact of Problem Gambling

Pathological Gambling is one of the most devastating and fastest proliferating diseases in the United States, and it is estimated that close approximately one million (1,000,000) people in California are Pathological or Problem Gamblers with an additional three million (3,000,000) “at risk” of becoming addicted.

The social costs of Problem Gambling are staggering: according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the costs are about $7 billion (with a “b”) per year in the US, from crime/incarcerations, bankruptcies and other addictions. Problem and Pathological Gamblers are between 3 and 4 times more likely to be arrested and/or spend time in jail as a result of crimes including (but not limited to) domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, theft, fraud. Problem and Pathological gamblers are also 2 to 7 times more likely to use illegal drugs, drink/binge drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.1

Gambling addiction can have negative consequences to almost all aspects of our society. Even if you are not a problem gambler, there is a chance that your life has been affected by someone else’s gambling addiction.

In this section, we will examine the impacts of gambling on our families, children, jobs, community and crime and suicide rates.

Help Yourself

Maintaining Recovery

It’s important to understand that recovering from a gambling addiction is both a process and a lifetime commitment. As with most addictions, the greatest challenge of quitting gambling isn’t the “stopping” – it’s the “staying stopped.”

The keys to a successful recovery include surrounding yourself with people who will provide support yet hold you accountable, finding healthy alternative activities to gambling and avoiding tempting environments (i.e. don’t go to the casino “just for dinner”).