Results of NORC and NRC Studies about Problem and Pathological Gambling
As demonstrated by these testimonials, problem and pathological gambling affects a wide range of people and their families. Research is attempting to better classify those people at greatest risk, however, For example:
· Both the NRC and NORC studies found that men are more likely to be pathological, problem, or at-risk gamblers than women.
· Both studies found that pathological, problem, and at-risk gambling was proportionally higher among African Americans than other ethnic groups. Although little research has been conducted on gambling problems among Native American populations, the few studies that have been done indicate that Native Americans may be at increased risk for problem and pathological gambling. 19
· NORC reported that pathological gambling occurs less frequently among individuals over age 65, among college graduates, and in households with incomes over $100,000 per year. 20 NRC concluded that pathological gambling is found proportionately more often among the young, less educated, and poor. 21
· Researchers have discovered high levels of other addictive behavior among problem and pathological gamblers, especially regarding drugs and alcohol. For example, estimates of the incidence of substance abuse among pathological gamblers ranges from 25 to 63 percent. Individuals admitted to chemical dependence treatment programs are three to six times more likely to be problem gamblers than are people from the general population. 22 In its survey, NORC found that “respondents reporting at-risk, problem, and pathological gambling are more likely than low-risk or nongamblers to have ever been alcohol or drug-dependent and to have used illicit drugs in the past 12 months.” 23
· The Commission heard testimony that the prevalence of pathological gambling behavior may be higher among gambling industry employees than in the general population 24 and Dr. Robert Hunter, a specialist in pathological gambling treatment, has estimated that 15 percent of gambling industry employees have a gambling problem. 25 In recognition of this potential problem, 24 of the 25 largest non-tribal casinos surveyed by the Commission provide health insurance covering the cost of treating problem or pathological gambling among their employees. 26 UNDER-AGE PROBLEM GAMBLING One of the most troubling aspects of problem and pathological gambling is its prevalence among youth and adolescents. The available evidence indicates that individuals who begin gambling at an early age run a much higher lifetime risk of developing a gambling problem. Although the full scope of this problem remains to be defined, the Commission is unanimous in urging elected officials and others to focus on implementing more effective measures to address the problem of adolescent gambling.
19 NRC, pp. 4-6, 4-16. 20 NORC. 21 NRC, pp. 3-15. 22 NRC, pp. 4-15. 23 NORC, p. 30. 24 Arnie Wexler, testimony before the NGISC, Atlantic City, New Jersey, January 20, 1998. 25 Rex Butain, “There’s a Problem in the House,” International Gambling & Wagering Business, July 1996, p. 40. 26 NORC’s analysis of NGISC casino survey, as described in this chapter, p. 15. In addition, about 6 of every 10 smaller, non-tribal casinos and a slightly higher proportion of tribal casinos also provided such coverage .