Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It provides an opportunity to people of all ages to come together and enjoy themselves, while at the same time being physically active. It is one of the few sports where you can really see the results of your hard work, as the winners are often visibly euphoric after winning their races.
While the sport itself is a healthy alternative to gambling, it is not without its downsides. One of the biggest issues with horse racing is its prevalence of gambling addiction. A whopping 100 out of every 100 people who are “seriously” or “addicted” to gambling in general are also addicted to horse racing. That means that if you are among the lucky ones who experience gambling addiction, there is a good chance that you are also addicted to horse racing. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how many people are actually suffering from this problem, as it is considered to be a “secret disease.”
Just how many people out of 100 are addicted to horse racing? Let’s take a look.
The Problem Of Gambling Addiction
Let’s start by defining what exactly is gambling addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines it as:
“…a problem that’s characterized by a continuous pattern of gambling that interferes with daily life, causes financial problems, and results in problems related to family and social life.”
In other words, you will fall into this category if you exhibit four or more of the following signs of gambling addiction:
- Continuous Pattern of Gambling
- Interference With Daily Life
- Problems Related to Family And Social Life
- Financial Problems
It is important to note that this is a serious medical condition that requires treatment. It is not something that you can simply “try out” and if it doesn’t work out, you can go back to your old habits. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 425 million people worldwide are estimated to be afflicted with some sort of gambling problem. That makes it one of the most popular behavioral disorders. It is also one of the most underdiagnosed ones. In fact, the APA states that only about 10 percent of people who are clinically dependent on gambling have been diagnosed with it. That means that 90 percent of people are either unaware that they have a problem or are hiding it from others. It truly is a “secret disease.”
Many people get confused about gambling addiction and problem gambling. They believe that the two are related, but they are actually two separate issues. Problem gambling is defined as:
“…a form of gambling that is more severe than usual, characterized by persistent failure to achieve any lasting improvement even after trying to eliminate the problem. It is sometimes called pathological gambling.”
A problem gambler exhibits all of the symptoms of addiction but fails to acknowledge it. They may also attempt to hide or deny their issues from people around them, especially families, so that they do not have to face the consequences of their addiction. If you are caught in the cycle of addiction and denial, it can be extremely difficult to break free. This is especially problematic in the case of gambling addiction, as denial is one of the primary causes of it. Studies have shown that people who deny they have a problem are more likely to continue down this path, as opposed to those who admit they have a problem and are looking for help.
The Statistics Of Gambling Addiction In The U.S.
Now that you know what gambling addiction is and how many people are affected by it, let’s take a quick look at the stats in the United States regarding the problem.
According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.2 million adults in the U.S. have a problem gambling habit. That is slightly more than the 14.1 million who have a problem with alcohol and the 12.9 million who have a problem with illegal drugs. The odds of a person born in the 1990s growing up and being affected by problem gambling are about 1 in 11. The most commonly reported problem areas include:
- Vegas World Poker Tour
- Off-track betting
The NSDUH also found that only about 10 percent of people who have a problem with gambling have been diagnosed with it. This is a major cause of concern, as it means that 90 percent of people are either unaware that they have a problem or are hiding it from others. It truly is a “secret disease.”
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the other countries that have a comparable rate of problem gambling.
Gambling Addiction Worldwide
If you happen to be from the UK and you’re looking for places to visit, you might want to stay away from the casinos and bookmaker’s shops, as about 90 out of every 100 people who visit them become problem gamblers. That is according to a 2013 report by the UK Gambling Commission. Other countries with a similar problem include:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Europe (except Spain and Portugal)
The above report also found that only about 40 percent of people who have a problem with gaming have been diagnosed with it. This is extremely problematic, as it means that about 60 percent of people either do not know they have a problem or are hiding it from others. It truly is a “secret disease.”
The same report also found that the main sources of income of problem gamblers are:
- Social Security
- Child support
Finally, the study also found that the three most common reasons why people gamble are:
- For fun
- To escape from problems
- As a way to make money
This is truly shameful, as it shows how much of a problem gambling has become in the US and around the world. It is also extremely concerning that only about 10 percent of people who have a problem with gambling have been diagnosed with it. This means that 90 percent of people are either unaware that they have a problem or are hiding it from others. This is truly a “secret disease.”
It is quite clear that gambling addiction is a growing problem. However, it is quite concerning that only about 10 percent of people who have a problem with it have been diagnosed with it. This means that 90 percent of people are either unaware that they have a problem or are hiding it from others. This truly is a “secret disease.”