Perceptions of the Extent of Problem Gambling Within New Casino Communities
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Several recent studies using objective measures have found that the rate of pathological gambling in the U.S. is less than 5%. To determine the general population's perception of the prevalence of pathological gambling, a survey was conducted in seven communities where casinos have recently opened. Of the 1631 respondents who provided an estimate, the mean response was that 16% of the community residents were problem gamblers, more than three times the rate found by studies using specific diagnostic criteria. A regression equation found several demographic and attitudinal items are associated with higher prevalence estimates. In addition, the data support a “close to home” hypothesis that respondents who have relatives who have experienced problems with gambling will tend to perceive higher rates of problem gambling in the community.
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