Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 111–128 | Cite as

Prevalence studies of problem gambling in the United States

  • Rachel A. Volberg


The rapid expansion of legalized gambling in the United States has produced tremendous demands for information about the number and characteristics of problem gamblers in the general population. This paper examines the results of prevalence studies of problem and pathological gambling that have been carried out in the United States. The discussion is largely chronological, with a focus on comparative findings from the 15 United States jurisdictions where prevalence studies have been completed since 1980. The results of diese studies verify findings from clinical and experimental studies as well as suggesting important avenues for future research. The paper concludes with a consideration of the role played by survey research in advancing the field of gambling research.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, M.W. & Volberg, R.A. (1992).Frequent gamblers and problem gamblers in New Zealand: Report on Phase Two of the national survey. Research Series No. 14. Wellington: New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1980).Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 3rd edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  3. Christiansen, E.M. (1993). 1992 gross annual wager: Industry rebounds with 8.4% handle gain.Gaming &Wagering Business, 14, 12–35.Google Scholar
  4. Christiansen/Cummings Associates. (1992).Legal gambling in Connecticut: Assessment of current status and options for the future. Report to the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue.Google Scholar
  5. Connor, M. (1993). Indian gaming: Prosperity and controversy.Gaming &Wagering Business, 14, 1, 8–12.Google Scholar
  6. Culleton, R.P. (1985).A survey of pathological gamblers in the state of Ohio. Report to the Ohio Lottery Commission.Google Scholar
  7. Culleton, R.P. (1989). The prevalence rates of pathological gambling: A look at methods.Journal of Gambling Behavior, 5, 22–41.Google Scholar
  8. Dickerson, M.G. (1993). A preliminary exploration of a two-stage methodology in the assessment of the extent and degree of gambling-related problems in the Australian population. In W.R. Eadington & J.A. Cornelius (Eds.),Gambling behavior and problem gambling. (pp. 347–364). Reno: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fowler, F.J. (1988).Survey research methods. Revised Edition. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Kallick, M., Suits, D., Dielman, T. & Hybels, J. (1979).A survey of American gambling attitudes and behavior. Research Report Series, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  11. Laundergan, J.C. (1992).Measuring pathological gambling in a general population and a chemically dependent population using SOGS and a modified SOGS (MOGS). Paper presented at the Sixth National Conference on Gambling Behavior.Google Scholar
  12. Laundergan, J.C., Schaefer, J.M., Eckhoff, K.F. & Pirie, P.L. (1990).Adult survey of Minnesota gambling behavior: A benchmark, 1990. Report to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Mental Health Division.Google Scholar
  13. Lesieur, H.R. & Blume, S.B. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers.American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1184–1188.Google Scholar
  14. Nadler, L.B. (1985). The epidemiology of pathological gambling: Critique of existing research and alternative strategies.Journal of Gambling Behavior, 1, 35–50.Google Scholar
  15. Reichardt, C.S. & Cook, T.D. (1979). Beyond qualitativeversus quantitative methods. In T.D. Cook & C.S. Reichardt (Eds.),Qualitative and quantitative methods in evaluation research (pp. 7–32). Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Sommers, I. (1988). Pathological gambling: Estimating prevalence and group characteristics.International Journal of the Addictions, 23, 477–490.Google Scholar
  17. Volberg, R.A. (1992).Gambling involvement and problem gambling in Montana. Report to the Montana Department of Corrections and Human Services.Google Scholar
  18. Volberg, R.A. (1993a). Estimating the prevalence of pathological gambling in the United States. In W.R. Eadington & J.A. Cornelius (Eds.),Gambling behavior and problem gambling. (pp. 365–378). Reno: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  19. Volberg, R.A. (1993b).Gambling and problem gambling in Washington State. Report to the Washington State Lottery.Google Scholar
  20. Volberg, R.A. (1994). The prevalence and demographics of pathological gamblers: Implications for public health.American Journal of Public Health, 84, 237–241.Google Scholar
  21. Volberg, R.A. & Abbott, M.W. (1994). Lifetime prevalence estimates of pathological gambling in New Zealand.International Journal of Epidemiology, 23, 976–983.Google Scholar
  22. Volberg, R.A. & Banks, S.M. (1990). A review of two measures of pathological gambling in the United States.Journal of Gambling Behavior, 6, 153–163.Google Scholar
  23. Volberg, R.A. & Silver, E. (1993).Gambling and problem gambling in North Dakota. Report to the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health.Google Scholar
  24. Volberg, R.A. & Steadman, H.J. (1988). Refining prevalence estimates of pathological gambling.American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, 502–505.Google Scholar
  25. Volberg, R.A. & Stuefen, R.M. (1991).Gambling and problem gambling in South Dakota. Report to the Governor's Office of South Dakota.Google Scholar
  26. Walker, M.B. (1992).The psychology of gambling. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Wallisch, L. (1993).The 1992 Texas survey of adult gambling behavior. Report to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel A. Volberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Gemini ResearchRoaring Spring

Personalised recommendations