New Study Reveals The Risks Of Problem Gambling In Illinois

Problem gambling is an issue that cannot be swept under the carpet for much longer – it affects so many people from different socio-economic classes. Recently, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) embarked on a study to assess the impact of problem gambling in the state. The findings of that study are out and offer a clear view of the personalized journey into the menace. 

According to the group that undertook the study, it was necessary to conduct a state-wide assessment of problem gambling so as to cover as many types of gambling activities as are available. Although the state of Illinois is not as advanced in the sector as other states such as New Jersey and Michigan, the problems associated with gambling are still present. 

Since this kind of assessment has not been done in the state before, the findings obtained this time will act as a roadmap for formulating strategies and informing campaigns against its prevalence. The IDHS released its findings last week during the Illinois Gaming Board’s meeting.

Survey Results on Problem Gambling

The final published report contains the following highlights:

  • 68% of American adults reportedly engaged in gambling within the last twelve months. 
  • Although the popularity of sports betting and video gaming terminals has spiked over time, the lottery remains the preferred gambling option for most people. 
  • An estimated 3.8% of adults living in Illinois suffer from a gambling problem
  • Approximately 7.7% of adults living in Illinois live a lifestyle that predisposes them to the risk of developing problem gambling. 

What is Problem Gambling?

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, this is the “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.”

The data collected by the IDHS on problem gambling indicates that problem gambling will continue to wreck havoc in the lives of many more Illinois residents in the future. This is a direct reflection of the level of investment on treatment required in the state. The state government has already begun making plans to make treatment services available to those that need them to combat the issue. A budget item of approximately $10 million has been approved in the state plans for Fiscal Year 23.

The lead author of the assessment who is also an executive with the Health Resources in Action, Dr. Hannah Carliner, is optimistic of the impact that the current efforts are making. With new information on problem gambling, state authorities now have the tools with which they can combat the issue. 

Dr. Carliner is hopeful that what has been discovered through the just concluded assessment is sufficient for offering insight in issues that relate to problem gambling prevention. The bettors of Illinois will in the future be empowered to make decisions that are driven by actual data. This is the best approach possible if the problem of gambling addiction is to be nipped at the bud. The focus of the intervention that must be formulated is to prevent the creation of new victim as well as place victims o the road to recovery. 

Dr. Carliner is also confident that the findings of the study could form the basis for future evaluations of problem gambling in the future. The success of such studies will not only be beneficial to the people of Illinois but other states as well. It is important to appreciate the fact that problem gambling is not unique to Illinois but has in fact been an issue of concern for many other regions where people engage in gambling.

Problem Gambling Resources in Illinois

The most recent resource that has been availed for the prevention, support and treatment of problem gambling is 1-800-GAMBLER. IDHS has also launched a website called to provide support to victims of problem gambling and their families. For those who prefer to seek assistance via text messages, there is the option of texting ILGAMB to 53342 to get help. All the resources mentioned above are available 24/7. 

What happens when a distress message is picked up through one of these channels? On the other side of each of these platforms is a team of support specialists that have been trained in the delivery of evidence-based solutions. There is help for problem gambling and this is the message that must reach every casino player out there. Once someone decides that they need help, they will be connected to suitable treatment and recovery services within their physical locality.

Obviously, dealing with problem gambling requires a multi-agency approach. It entails a chain of information flow that must be safeguarded if the users’ credibility of the system will be withheld. 

Are you a betting services provider that is interested in spreading awareness on problem gambling to your customers? You can order printed materials produced by the IDHS to aid your efforts. Some of the most effective materials that are helpful in fighting problem gambling include brochures, wallet cards and posters. 

Treatment versus Prevention

According to the gaming board of Illinois, problem gambling does not have to be the fate of each and every gambling fan and enthusiast. By using free resources, the residents of the state can be empowered on responsible gambling. Safe gambling practices cultivated over time can prevent some issues before they arise.

Final Thoughts

Responsible gambling is a product of the right education and a willingness to uphold safe gambling practices. Players should know that problem gambling is not a reserve for the lowroll players alone – even the highrollers get caught up in the addiction. To avoid being caught up in this web despite your caliber of gaming, exercise caution when gambling and stick to bet caps irrespective of how promising a bet looks.