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%.