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Gambling and Problem Gambling in the United States: Changes Between 1999 and 2013


Telephone surveys of US adults were conducted in 1999–2000 and again in 2011–2013. The same questions and methods were used so as to make the surveys comparable. There was a reduction in percentage of past-year gambling and in frequency of gambling. Rates of problem gambling remained stable. Lottery was included among the specific types of gambling for which past year participation and frequency of play declined. Internet gambling was the only form of gambling for which the past-year participation rate increased. The average win/loss increased for several forms of gambling, providing a modest indication that gamblers were betting more, albeit less frequently. Between the two surveys, the rates of past-year participation in gambling declined markedly for young adults. In both surveys, rates of problem gambling were higher for males than females, and this difference increased markedly between surveys as problem gambling rates increased for males and decreased for females. For the combined surveys, rates of problem gambling were highest for blacks and Hispanics and lowest for whites and Asians. In both surveys, the rates of problem gambling declined as socio-economic status became higher. Possible explanations for these trends are discussed.

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This research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grants AA11402 and AA018097, awarded to John W. Welte.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to John W. Welte.

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Welte, J.W., Barnes, G.M., Tidwell, M.O. et al. Gambling and Problem Gambling in the United States: Changes Between 1999 and 2013. J Gambl Stud 31, 695–715 (2015).

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  • Problem gambling
  • United States
  • Gambling trends