Illinois is wary of the growing gambling harm rates among its citizens. To track the severity of the problem, the Illinois Department of Human Services recently conducted a survey on problem gambling in the state. The move follows recent legislation that expanded the accessibility of gambling in Illinois.
This Thursday, the Department officially released the results of its research. According to them, there are over a million people in the state that are either struggling with addiction or are at risk of developing a problem.
Many Have a Gambling Problem
The researchers took numerous factors into consideration before publishing the final results of their study. They surveyed which demographics were the most affected by harm, what are the various communities’ opinions on gambling, what types of gambling are the most popular and where treatment and self-exclusion services are available.
Taking a look at the results, 68% of the adults admitted to having gambled in the past year. The problem gamblers turned out to be 3.8% of the overall adult population, the survey concluded. This means that about 383,000 people in Illinois are currently struggling with unhealthy gaming habits. Meanwhile, 7.7% of the adults in the state, or 761,000 people, are at risk of developing a problem.
The lottery firmly cemented its place as the most popular form of gambling in Illinois. Online sports betting, which was legalized in 2019, is also a fast-growing vertical. In addition, the state’s overall GGR keeps on growing and reached $122 million in April.
The Results Will Help Treatment Workers
The results of the survey are concerning as they show that about a tenth of the adult population of the Prairie State is either struggling with gambling harm or at risk. Because of that, it is very important to have reliable treatment services and help those in need. Realizing that, the Illinois Department of Human Services has already made significant contributions to the treatment sector. This includes a $10 million investment budgeted for State Fiscal Year 23.
Dr Hannah Carliner, member of Health Resources in Action and lead author of the study, commented on the matter. She hopes that the research will provide people working in treatment with enough information to relieve those affected by harm.
Carliner added that the broad scope of the survey will enable experts to use it as a baseline measure for future assessments. Thanks to that, researchers will be able to track certain tendencies and see if the situation continues to get worse or begins to improve.