A survey from the Prevention Insights at the Indiana University School of Public Health – Bloomington found that 89.3% of Hoosiers participated in one or more forms of gambling last year.
The results came from 855 surveyed Indiana residents aged 21 and older. The survey focused on assessing three key areas of responsible gambling:
- The scope of gambling activities among Indiana adults
- The prevalence of problem gambling behaviors and awareness of problem gambling resources
- Gambling’s impact on individuals, communities and the state
The survey was funded by the state’s Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction.
Gambling prevalence up from 2021
IU’s survey was its second on responsible gambling, following up on a baseline study on adult gambling behaviors in 2021.
In 2021, the survey showed that 84.8% of 495 participants had gambled in the past year, including lotteries, scratch and raffle tickets, sports betting and visiting casinos. That number grew to nearly nine-in-10 in 2022, slightly above the national average of 88%.
Another statistic had more concerning percentages: the number of people aware of the Indiana gambling helpline 1-800-9-WITH-IT. That number fell from 44.8% to 38.8%.
One reason for the discrepancy could be due to 2021’s survey reporting on almost half as many participants (495 in total). Other numbers were also scattered:
- The prevalence of problem gambling in 2022 was 2.3%, down from 4.1% in 2021.
- Only 0.6% of adults had sought treatment for a gambling problem, half of the 1.2% figure from 2021.
Prevention Insights operations director Mary Lay said these areas provided opportunities to increase awareness for Indiana residents.
What can be measured can be improved
Indiana allocates a small percentage of tax revenue to problem gambling prevention and treatment.
The expansion of legal gambling, particularly mobile sports betting, has made it easier than ever for adults to take part in Indiana gambling. Online gambling also appeals to younger demographics, something the numbers confirmed.
“With one-third of surveyed Hoosiers participating in some form of online gambling in the last year, and younger adults displaying a higher likelihood for this type of gambling, the numbers are concerning,” said Lay. “We will continue to watch this trend to see how it impacts those reporting issues with gambling.”
A rise in gambling is not inherently bad, provided new and current gamblers understand the associated risks and engage responsibly.
But a rise in problem gambling would create an unwelcome problem for the state. Thus, it is taking a proactive approach toward promoting and educating gamblers on responsible gambling practices.
Two years of data have now been compiled, and the state will conduct future surveys every two years to measure progress and identify any trends that appear. From there, the state will create prevention and awareness programs with a heavy focus on the most at-risk individuals and populations in the state.
Responsible gambling resources in Indiana
Problem gambling affects a small percentage of the population, but its effects can extend to other family members and loved ones. Furthermore, with approximately 5 million adults residing in Indiana, the reported 3.2% problem gambling rate would still equate to 160,000 Hoosiers experiencing it firsthand.
All Hoosiers, gamblers or not, are encouraged to take advantage of the services available for preventing and treating problem gambling. It is essential to learn and recognize the warning signs of problem gambling and addiction.
The Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program offers in-person trainings, conferences, counseling services, and literature such as pamphlets and brochures. It also serves as an extensive resource for:
- Gambling research from across the U.S.
- Support systems for problem gamblers and others affected by problem gambling
- General information about gambling
- Responsible gambling education and problem gambling prevention
- Treatment options for problem gamblers
Other resources include:
- The Indiana ambling helpline: 1-800-9-WITH-IT
- The Indiana Council on Problem Gambling is located in Indianapolis and available 24-7 by phone at 1-800-944-8448.
- The National Council on Problem Gambling. Call the toll-free helpline at 1-800-522-4700 for advice, guidance and local referrals to help problem gamblers’ needs.
- The Indiana Gambling Hotline website provides additional information on voluntary exclusion, Gamblers Anonymous meetings, a self-assessment questionnaire, and more.
21+ and present in Indiana. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-9-WITH-IT