New Study Reveals The Risks Of Problem Gambling In Illinois

Written By Matt Boecker on June 17, 2022
Illinois releases new problem gambling study

Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) just completed a new study on problem gambling in the state.

The group conducted a state-wide assessment of problem gambling in the Land of Lincoln since various types of gambling are becoming more accessible for Illinois residents.

This is the first time an assessment of this nature has been done in the state. The IDHS released its findings during the Illinois Gaming Board’s meeting this week.

Gambling problem survey results

Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights from the evaluation:

  • 68% of adults said they’d gambled in the past year
  • Video gaming terminals and sports betting have spiked in popularity, but the lottery was the most common gambling option
  • Approximately 3.8% of Illinois adults were deemed to have a gambling problem
  • Approximately 7.7% of Illinois adults are at risk of developing a gambling problem

The National Council on Problem Gambling defines problem gambling as:

“Behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The symptoms include increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.”

Illinois planning for the future

The IDHS projects the number of adults in need of treatments will continue rising. They plan on making hefty investments in treatment services to combat the issue. A total of $10 million is in the budget for the IDHS’ efforts for State Fiscal Year 23.

Health Resources in Action’s Dr. Hannah Carliner, the lead author of the assessment, hopes that the new info will go a long way towards problem gambling prevention.

“We hope that the findings of this assessment will provide much needed information for people working on prevention and treatment of problem gambling in Illinois, which will help them make data-informed decisions on how best to assist individuals on their road to recovery.”

Dr. Carliner also believes that the study could help other problem gambling evaluations in the future. That could come in handy in other states as well outside of Illinois.

“The broad scope of this assessment also enables it to be used as a baseline measure for future assessments to track changes over time regarding prevalence of gambling and problem gambling, and availability and use of services.”

Illinois problem gambling resources

In conjunction with 1-800-GAMBLER, the IDHS launched WeKnowTheFeeling.org as an asset for individuals and families of loved ones who are battling problem gambling. You can also text ILGAMB to 53342 to get help.

These resources are available 24/7. Support specialists trained in evidence-based solutions are available to help connect those reaching out with treatment and recovery services.

Providers looking to spread awareness can order printed materials from the IDHS. That includes posters, wallet cards and brochures. To acquire them, you can call the IDHS’ Chicago branch at 312-814-2300.

Treatment is one thing, but prevention is another.

The gaming board has a litany of free resources to help Illinois residents gamble responsibly. Following safe practices can help to prevent some issues before they arise.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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