Just because Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the country doesn’t mean that other states aren’t being hit hard by betting addictions. With the rise of online gaming, sports wages and Native American casinos, nearly everyone can find their way into a problem. And WalletHub has done a great job of bringing that issue to the forefront, by releasing a list of the country’s “Most Gambling-Addicted States“.
Before getting into the details, WalletHub writer Adam McCann broke down some of the alarming stats that are plaguing people nationwide. For one thing, gambling dependencies now affect roughly 1 to 3 percent of all U.S. adults. They also can cost Americans some serious debt, ranging from an average of $55,00 to $90,00 for male addicts (females typically accumulate around $15,000).
And who profits off it all? Why big business, of course. McCann went to share that the industry (both online and via casinos) now earns about $100 billion a year. It’s interesting to see which regions are driving that number up and where our home state of California ranks among the pack.
So, the #1 most gambling-addicted state should come as no surprise. It is, of course, Nevada, where booming towns like Las Vegas, Reno and Laughlin are located. Because of its history and statewide legalization laws, it’s up there by a large margin. But once we get into #2 and beyond, the details get a bit more interesting.
#2 happens to be South Dakota, nestled right in the American midwest. This state is known for having a large Native American population, which means plentiful casinos between its borders. Tragically, it’s members of the tribes themselves that often find themselves addicted; leading to further problems like drug dependencies and alcoholism.
Mississippi is not far behind, ranking in the Top 5. This state has also had a long history with gambling. Famous for their riverboat casinos, this is the most plagued state in the south when it comes to these types of addictions. Oregon is the most gambling-addicted state on the west coast, edging in at #7 (above New Jersey and Atlantic City).
And as for our home turf of California? Well thankfully, we’ve got a nice amount of distance from the top. Currently, the golden state is ranked #18 on the list; behind populated areas like New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. But it’s alarming to see us in the Top 20 and there is a good chance that ranking could go up, with the expansion of online betting sites and Inland Empire casinos.
We invite everyone to take a virtual tour of WalletHub’s map. Click below to see how certain regions stack up and please make sure to get help if this is an issue concerning you or a loved one.