A recent survey conducted by Indiana University shows that gambling is a common thread amongst many Hoosiers. While that’s good news for gaming enterprises in the state, the responses also point to areas of improvement within the industry.
The survey results affirmed past research showing that problem gambling affects about 3% of the population, but the numbers of those seeking help are much lower. There is a possible gap in healthcare strategies that can now be addressed going forward.
Indiana gambling survey suggests gaming is very popular
According to the release from Indiana University, 84% of respondents said they gambled in some form over the past year. There were 495 respondents of legal gambling age who lived in Indiana.
With a total population pushing 7 million, 495 people could be a statistically insignificant sampling. However, Prevention Insights did all it could to make sure the sampling represented the state’s overall demographic breakdown.
Among the sample group, the Indiana Lottery seems to be the most common form of gaming. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they had played some lottery game during the past year.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The lottery recently reported bringing in a record $1.74 billion in revenue during the 2021 fiscal year.
Almost half of the people who responded had visited a casino in the past year as well.
However, some of the biggest statistical differences in gambling participation had to do with sports betting in Indiana.
The usual suspects for IN sports betting
Of the respondents who said they had placed at least one bet on a sporting event over the past year, the majority were male and young. In fact, sports betting represented the strongest demographic disparities of any gaming category.
According to the study, 29.8% of male respondents reported betting on sports while just 12.7% of female respondents made the same claim.
The 18-34 age group put itself down for sports betting at a 36.7% clip, more than the next two most common age brackets for that category combined.
While that suggests a solid future for Indiana sportsbooks and plenty of room to grow, the results around responsible gaming might be the most interesting.
They suggest a disconnect between those aware of problem gambling and those accessing treatment for it.
Instances of problem gambling low in survey
Fewer than 5% of people who completed the survey reported a gambling problem on any level. However, just over a percent of the same group said they had sought treatment for a gambling issue.
That doesn’t seem to be due to a lack of awareness of how to access treatment options. Nearly 45% of respondents said they are aware of the state’s helpline for problem gambling, 1-800-9WITHIT.
Mary Lay, research associate and program manager of Prevention Insights’ Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program, said the following regarding the discrepancy,
“The survey results affirmed research by others that problem gambling affects about 3% of the adult population, yet we do not see this in the numbers seeking treatment. These results will provide opportunities to find support for more advocacy and education around problem gambling.”
The benefit to having this information is that healthcare professionals can focus their efforts on bridging that gap.
“Gambling addiction is often seen as a chosen behavior and not a disease, such as alcoholism, Lay said. “Further education of the risks of gambling for more than entertainment or recreation can improve the lives of many Hoosiers.”
Any improvement the state makes to connect treatment with those who need it is a win for everyone.