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New study finds increase in Iowa gambling prevalence

September 9, 2019
From: Polly Carver-Kimm - Public Information Officer - Iowa Dept. of Health , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A new Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) study, Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2018 Survey of Adult Iowans, estimates over 1.7 million (73.8%) adult Iowans gambled during the past 12 months. Of that number, about 315,000 (13.6%) are classified as "at-risk," meaning they are experiencing some symptoms of problem gambling. These figures are up from the 2015 survey.

Symptoms of problem gambling include: preoccupied or with gambling, and/or restless or irritable when not gambling; secretive about gambling habits, and defensive when confronted; increasing bet amounts when gambling in order to achieve the desired excitement; trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back or stop gambling; gambling to escape problems; chasing losses with more gambling; committing crimes to finance gambling; jeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, education or career opportunities because gambling; relying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling

The report, prepared by the University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research, includes a companion document titled Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports, which found about 9% of adult Iowans either bet on sports or played fantasy sports. In this combined group, 23% were classified as at-risk gamblers, higher than the overall gambling at-risk percentage of 13.6%

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The IDPH Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention program works to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling by funding a range of services for Iowans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, visit Your Life Iowa at:



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