(WKRG) — As the Alabama legislature contemplates passing a comprehensive gambling bill, a new study released Wednesday says neighboring Mississippi , after nearly 30 years of legalized casino gambling, is the second most gambling addicted state in the nation.
Personal finance website WalletHub found gambling problems are much bigger in some states than in others. The study compared the 50 states to determine where excessive gambling is most prevalent, examining the presence of illegal gambling operations to lottery sales per capita to the share of adults with gambling disorders.
Mississippi tied with Minnesota for the highest percentage of adults with a gambling disorder and tied with Hawaii for the most gambling-related arrests per capita.
Nevada ranked as the most gambling addicted state. Mississippi’s neighbor, Louisiana, was fifth. Alabama was 21st. Florida was 40th.
See the full study here
The Alabama Senate has passed a bill to allow an education lottery, sports wagering, and six casinos spread across the state. It also compels the governor to negotiate with the Poarch Creek Band to allow the tribe to operate several more casinos. If the Alabama House passes the bill, it would need the approval of Alabama voters next year.
Gambling disorder affects about 1-3 percent of all U.S. adults – but it may be on the rise due to increased isolated time spent online during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.”
According to WalletHub, U.S. consumers experience more than $100 billion per year in total gambling losses. Individually, a male gambling addict accumulates an average debt of between $55,000 and $90,000 whereas a female averages $15,000. Most cannot afford to pay back what they owe. As a result, gambling addicts develop a high tendency to amass even more debt, suffer from other health issues, lose their jobs, strain their relationships or even commit crimes.