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US national survey highlights problem gambling risk among young people


A survey from The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has suggested younger Americans are at particular risk of gambling-related harm, with half of those under 35 answering “yes” to at least one question that suggests a risk of problem gambling.

The National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE) is the first national research report on gambling attitudes since the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in 1999.

The report highlighted the ongoing problems with young people and problem gambling. Half of under 35s surveyed chose “yes” to at least one of four questions that indicated a risk of problem gambling, compared to only 10% of over 65s surveyed.

Legal restrictions on gambling were also revealed to have little effect on gambling habits. Over half of adults in Hawaii and Utah, where legal gambling of all kinds is prohibited, reported gambling activity in the last year. Also in the last year, one in five Americans admitted placing a sports bet despite it being legalized in only two states at the time of the survey.

Sports betting habits were also reported as being particularly high risk. The survey found that sports bettors are over three times more likely than non-sports bettors to report problem gambling behavior. This rises to five times more likely when the sports betting occurs weekly.

Meanwhile, the report confirmed that gambling is a very popular pastime for Americans, with three in four adults having gambled at some point in the year preceding the survey. Only 12% of those surveyed claimed they had never gambled.

The survey results also emphasized that most Americans that gamble do so without negative outcomes. 70% of gamblers reported never participating in any potentially harmful gambling behaviors outlined in the survey,  such as needing to gamble more for the same feeling or lying about gambling, while 7% reported experiencing one of these gambling behaviors “many times”.