Problem gamblers are attracted to different forms of gambling for different reasons. Some are attracted to the sensory stimulation of video games of chance, while others to the perception of skill in cards or sports betting. Still others are drawn to the seemingly easy money of high-risk investments. Many, if not most, pathological gamblers indulge in more than one form of gambling. However, studies of pathological gamblers have found that the most frequently cited games of preference are slot machines, card games, and sports betting. A Minnesota study of 944 gamblers in treatment found that 37 percent listed slot machines as their preferred game and 37 percent listed cards. Lottery games, dice games, and games of skill were each cited by less than 1 percent of those in the study. (Stinchfield and Winters, 1996)
2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-8 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior. Research also indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do responsibly.
Approximately 85% of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives; 60% in the past year. Some form of legalized gambling is available in 48 states plus the District of Columbia. The two without legalized gambling are Hawaii and Utah.
Along with research into this area, CAGE supports and many jurisdictions have established funding mechanisms for responsible play. Some examples include setting aside $250,000 or more for problem gaming hotlines with "1-800" numbers for help lines printed on each ticket or gaming devise like a VLT or lottery machine.
Many lotteries can provide help for compulsive gamblers by helping to finance problem gambling services. From 24-hours help lines to "responsible play" advertising and marketing campaigns, lotteries throughout the world have a history of helping jurisdictions deal with this issue.
Many lotteries around the world address the challenges of problem gambling. Studies have shown that lotteries are not a major cause of problem gaming but, as they are state-run, have taken steps to support those players that might have compulsive behavior toward gaming and require some assistance.