Journal of gambling behavior

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 131–142 | Cite as

Report on the cost-benefit/effectiveness of treatment at the Johns Hopkins Center for Pathological Gambling

  • Robert M. Politzer
  • James S. Morrow
  • Sandra B. Leavey


It is mandatory that programs, particularly social programs, generate evidence of efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of the treatment of illness. Thus a study was conducted to determine the cost-effectiveness of treatment of pathological gamblers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Pathological Gambling. This Center provides two types of treatment programs: an intensive residential program, and an out-patient program. Although abstinence is but one measure of the success of these programs, they have demonstrated an 80 percent and 90 percent abstention rate respectively, measured at an average of six months after completion of treatment for the residential programs and after six months while in treatment in the out-patient program. Similar high success rates were obtained for the stabilization, maintenance, and/or restoration of families, initiation and maintenance of restitution, indictments saved by restitution or other plans, and return to employment. Data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Pathological Gambling, indicates the benefit to cost ratio of treatment in excess of 20:1. Pathological gambling not only ranks amongst the most expensive illnesses afflicting society, but also is the least expensive to treat and the most “cureable” when treated. Without public education, and awareness, and without dollars for treatment and research, untreated pathological gambling will far surpass the costs of other catastrophic illnesses as the latter remain the focus of our health care expenditures while the former is ignored.


Health Care Success Rate Treatment Program Residential Program Public Education 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Politzer
    • 1
  • James S. Morrow
    • 1
  • Sandra B. Leavey
    • 1
  1. 1.Johns Hopkins Center for Pathological GamblingUSA

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