Not-So-Sweet 16: Missouri Ranked 16th Most Gambling-Addicted State

Written By Marian Rosin on May 5, 2022
Missouri ranks 16th most gambling addicted state

Sometimes 16 isn’t so sweet.

WalletHub released its ranking of the most gambling-addicted states the last week in April.

Missouri came in as the 16th most gambling-addicted state in the country.

The good news and the bad news? Missouri dropped from No. 14 in WalletHub’s 2021 most gambling-addicted state rankings — but also climbed up from No. 29 in 2016.

Preceding and following Missouri in this year’s rankings are states both with and without legal sports betting, so forecasting any effect of legal sports betting on the state’s status seems somewhat futile.

At any rate, such a forecast would prove moot, at least for now, since legalized sports betting in the Show-Me State has stalled yet again.

Gambling addiction by the numbers

According to the personal finance website WalletHub, the percentage of American adults addicted to gambling is 1% to 3%. puts the number at 5 million.

However, Keith Whyte, the Executive Director for the National Council of Problem Gambling, has cautioned, “It’s incredibly hard to find good numbers because state governments and the gambling industry don’t want people to know how big a problem this is.”

The dollars and cents numbers cause concern, too. According to WalletHub, “Individually, a male gambling addict accumulates an average debt of between $55,000 and $90,000, whereas a female averages $15,000.”

And Whyte has also said that U.S. gamblers lost $120 billion last year.

What happens in Vegas happens again in Vegas

It probably doesn’t come as a big surprise that Nevada ranks as the No. 1 most gambling-addicted state.

And Utah landed in last place in WalletHub’s rankings; that could likely be because it offers no legal gambling whatsoever. Utah doesn’t even have a state lottery.

WalletHubs’ rankings for gambling addiction in some other states, with and without regulated sports betting:

  • Louisiana – 6 (sports betting)
  • New Jersey – 7 (sports betting )
  • West Virginia – 9 (sports betting)
  • North Dakota – 10 (no sports betting)
  • Illinois – 14 (sports betting)
  • Massachusetts – 17 (no sports betting)
  • New York – 24 (sports betting)
  • Connecticut – 33 (sports betting)
  • Arizona – 40 (sports betting)
  • Florida – 42 (no sports betting)
  • North Carolina – 45 (no sports betting)
  • Vermont – 47 (no sports betting)

The No. 6 state on the list, Louisiana, has offered legal sports betting since October 2021 and mobile sports betting since the end of this past January.

Janet Miller, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling, has said that calls to the LACG’s gambling helpline increase every time another state legalizes sports betting

Last month, Missouri gambling addiction counselor Daniel Smith told ABC17 News regarding sports betting: “You can lose your shirt very easily.”

Bill is a fili-bust

The MO sports betting bill filibustered last week by Sen. Danny Hoskins had an amendment proposed by Rep. Ben Baker in March dealing with gambling addiction. The amendment required the state to provide recovery services and to conduct annual research on sports betting’s social and economic impacts.

Another amendment earlier in March stipulated that sports betting providers pay $500,000 annually to the problem gambling fund. Gambling addiction counselor Smith had noted that “there’s not a dollar that goes to prevention right now.”

Where to get help with problem gambling in Missouri

Problem gambling has been called the silent addiction. The Missouri Department of Mental Health offers resources for assistance on their website.

Also, Missourians can add themselves to the Missouri Lottery’s and Gaming Commission’s voluntary self-exclusion lists. Missourians seeking help with problem gambling can also call 1-888-BETSOFF.

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Marian Rosin

Marian Rosin is a freelance writer that has written on a variety of topics including publications like Upnest and Psychology Today. Marian brings experience in the gambling sector as the senior copywriter for Isle of Capri casinos.

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