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Nevada Tops List Of Most Gambling-Addicted States

South Dakota Takes Second Place, While Utah Ranks Last


The growth of sports betting, online gaming, and the country’s sheer number of casinos over the last few years has left some concerned about the rising number of problem gamblers. With that in mind, WalletHub recently took a look at gambling data to rank the most gambling-addicted U.S. states.

The study looked at 20 key metrics, including the presence of illegal gambling operations, lottery sales per capita, the share of adults with gambling disorders, and more. The study notes that 1-3% of Americans have issues with gambling.

“Gambling addictions can destroy lives the same way that alcohol and drug addictions can,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe noted. “While some people may be able to enjoy casual gambling from time to time, others need to avoid temptation altogether. People with a gambling addiction may find it helpful to live in states where places to gamble are less prevalent and laws against betting are stricter.”

A Look At The Rankings

With Las Vegas operating as the biggest gambling hub in the country, it’s no surprise that Nevada topped the list of most gambling-addicted states. The Silver State’s economy is heavily dependent on gaming and the state’s residents as well as visitors have numerous options for gambling – with slots even available in grocery and convenience stores.

“Around 2.7% of adults in Nevada have gambling disorders, one of the highest rates in the country, and the state ranks number one when it comes to Gamblers Anonymous meetings per capita,” the study notes. “Nevada also has some of the most arrests per capita for illegal gambling.”

The second- and third-place states, South Dakota and Montana, might be a bit of a surprise to gambling observers. While both offer casinos, they have smaller populations and may not be singled out for gambling as opposed to more traditional gaming states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Nevada, Montana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma all tied for most gambling machines available per capita.

Louisiana and Pennsylvania finished in fourth and fifth. Both offer players numerous casino and sports betting options, and the Keystone State has been a leader in online casino and poker over the last few years.

Other casino states rounding out the top 10 feature plenty of casino gaming and sports wagering options, including Oklahoma, Mississippi, West Virginia, Oregon, and New Jersey.

Some states with fewer legalized gaming options still scored high, however. For example, Texas doesn’t have legalized casinos, but still finished 14th. Neighboring states all have casinos, and the Lone Star State also has the lottery, poker clubs, and horse racing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Utah has no legalized casinos or lottery and finished 50th in the rankings. For a complete look at the study, click here.