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The Relationship of Ecological and Geographic Factors to Gambling Behavior and Pathology

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The current study examined the effect of neighborhood disadvantage and gambling availability on gambling participation and pathology. A national telephone survey included 2631 US adults. Census data was used to characterize the respondent’s neighborhood, and the distance from the respondent’s home to gambling facilities was calculated. Logistic and linear regressions were performed to predict gambling participation and pathology. Results showed that the neighborhood disadvantage was positively related to frequency of gambling and problem/pathological gambling. The presence of a casino within 10 miles of the respondent’s home was positively related to problem/pathological gambling. The permissiveness of gambling laws was positively related to any gambling in the past year, as well as frequent gambling. These results were interpreted to mean that the ecology of disadvantaged neighborhoods promotes gambling pathology, and that availability of gambling opportunities promotes gambling participation and pathology.

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Correspondence to John W. Welte.

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Welte, J.W., Wieczorek, W.F., Barnes, G.M. et al. The Relationship of Ecological and Geographic Factors to Gambling Behavior and Pathology. J Gambl Stud 20, 405–423 (2004).

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