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Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Problem Gambling a Community Concern

National Problem Gambling Awareness Week: March 3-9, 2013

March 3 – 9, 2013 marks the nation’s 11th Annual National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. The theme this year is “Problem Gambling: A New Understanding of a Community Concern”. The goal of the week is to raise awareness about the warning signs of problem gambling and the resources for help. It is also a celebration of the men and women who have successfully recovered from a gambling problem.

Moreover, where inveterate gamblers have been seen to act unlawfully toward others, the reasons for such behavior are not always related to gambling. According to another anti-gambling advocate, Ronald A. Reno, "pathological gamblers comprise between pin up 1 and 3% of the adult population," but he further notes that "about half of inveterate gamblers experience problems such as alcohol abuse and drug addiction."[25 This is an aggravating factor, for alcohol abuse alone is associated with numerous instances of antisocial behavior. In 1996, alcohol abuse was cited as a cause of fatal car accidents in 40.9% of cases, and was also cited as a cause of conflict by two-thirds of victims of domestic violence[26].


In our community of Bloomington Indiana, March is the time for basketball. The NCAA basketball tournament, known as "March Madness," is a mega sporting event for gamblers, including college student gamblers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that $2.5 billion is illegally bet annually on the NCAA basketball tournament. Over the past 10 years sports betting among college students increased, even though it is illegal in almost all states including Indiana. Research indicates that approximately 42% of college students gamble on a yearly basis. An estimates 3 – 4% of college student gamblers develop into problem gamblers.

Particularly concerning is the increase in online gambling. There are over 2,000 online gambling websites available on the internet. Over $15 billion is spent every year on just these sites alone. Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have all legalized online gambling or I-gaming. Gambling online can be accessed just about anywhere at any time and could make access to gambling easier for young people and those who may have a problem gambling.

Some warning signs of problem gambling include:

  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Secretive about gambling and defensive when confronted
  • Unsuccessful at controlling, limiting, or stopping
  • “Chasing” losses
  • Lying about gambling
  • Borrowing money to gamble
  • Missing work or school because of gambling

Most people can gamble without negative consequences, but for some people gambling can have negative social, economic, and psychological implications. Gambling is an addiction and help is available. If a gambler or their loved ones suspect a problem, their first step should be to call the Indiana Problem Gambling Help Line at 800-994-8448. For additional resources, visit the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling at http://www.indianaproblemgambling.org or the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program at www.ipgap.indiana.edu.