A new Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) study, Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2018 Survey of Adult Iowans, estimates over 1.7 million (73.8%) adult Iowans gambled during the past 12 months. Of that number, about 315,000 (13.6%) are classified as “at-risk,” meaning they are experiencing some symptoms of problem gambling. These figures are up from the 2015 survey, which found 68.1% of adult Iowans had gambled during past 12 months and 12.6% classified as at-risk.

Symptoms of problem gambling include:

Preoccupied or with gambling, and/or restless or irritable when not gamblingSecretive about gambling habits, and defensive when confrontedIncreasing bet amounts when gambling in order to achieve the desired excitementTrying unsuccessfully to control, cut back or stop gamblingGambling to escape problemsChasing losses with more gamblingCommitting crimes to finance gamblingJeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, education or career opportunities because of gamblingRelying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling

The report, prepared by the University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research, includes a companion document titled Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports, which found about 9% of adult Iowans either bet on sports or played fantasy sports. In this combined group, 23% were classified as at-risk gamblers, higher than the overall gambling at-risk percentage of 13.6%

The IDPH Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention program works to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling by funding a range of services for Iowans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, visit Your Life Iowa athttps://yourlifeiowa.org/gambling. To see the entire Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2018 Survey of Adult Iowans report, visithttps://www.idph.iowa.gov/igtp/reports.

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