Gambling addictions are a much bigger problem in some states than in others

With gambling addictions rising during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Kentucky Derby soon to kick off, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Most Gambling-Addicted States.

Gambling disorder, as it’s known, affects about 1-3 percent of all U.S. adults – but it may be on the rise due to increased isolated time spent online during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.”

That addiction can lead to serious economic consequences. For example, U.S. consumers experience over $100 billion per year in total gambling losses. Individually, a male gambling addict accumulates an average debt of between $55,000 and $90,000 whereas a female averages $15,000. Most cannot afford to pay back what they owe. As a result, gambling addicts develop a high tendency to amass even more debt, suffer from other health issues, lose their jobs, strain their relationships or even commit crimes.

The gambling problem, however, is much bigger in some states than in others, according to Adam McCann of WalletHub. WalletHub therefore compared the 50 states to determine where excessive gambling is most prevalent. Its data set of 21 key metrics ranges from the presence of illegal gambling operations to lottery sales per capita to the share of adults with gambling disorders.

With the Kentucky Derby approaching and gamblers preparing to bet on their favorite horses, WalletHub also released its 2021 Kentucky Derby infographic.

Gambling Addiction in California (1=Most Addicted, 25=Avg.):

  • 26th – Casinos per Capita
  • 28th – Gaming Machines per Capita
  • 29th – Lottery Sales per Capita
  • 32nd – % of Adults with Gambling Disorders
  • 6th – Gambling-Related Arrests per Capita
  • 1st – Legality of Daily Fantasy Sports
  • 43rd – Legality of Sports Gambling


For the full report, click here.


Image Sources

  • Gambling: Pixabay