Gambling problems can happen without being totally out of control. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), describes at-risk gamblers as those having one or more of the symptoms listed below. With problem gamblers being in the highest risk classification. People with at-risk gambling behavior may not experience their consequences alone. A gambler’s negative physical, emotional, and financial repercussions can affect others in their life. 26.7% of Iowans reported that they know someone struggling with gambling problems. Moreover, 21.8% of Iowans have been negatively affected by a family member, friend, or coworker with gambling issues.

The IDPH symptoms of problem gambling:
  • Preoccupied with gambling, restless or irritable when not gambling
  • Secretive about gambling habits and defensive when confronted
  • Increasing bet amounts when gambling 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 of gambling
  • Relying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
The IDPH recently published multiple reports.

The 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, which found 68.1% of adult Iowans had gambled during past 12 months and 12.6% classified as at-risk.

Furthermore, the University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research, document Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports, reported 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%.

Click the link for more of the Chase Scheuer’s KYOU News story: “Gambling Addiction Expected To Rise With Legalized Sports Betting”

Sieda Community Action Behavioral Health and Treatment Services offers Gambling Prevention Services and Problem Gambling Treatment Services.
  • Crisis counseling to address immediate concerns
  • Assessment services to determine the scope of issues
  • Counseling for individuals, couples, and families who are worried about their loved ones gambling activities.
The services can also help a family member who:
  • Is worried about their loved one’s gambling activities
  • Does not know what to do next

If you have any questions, please contact us at 641-683-6747.

Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2018 Survey of Adult Iowans

A. Prevalence of Gambling
B. Gambling Behavior
C. Gamblers & Co-Occurring Conditions

Additional reports at