Study finds more Iowans with symptoms of 'problem gambling'

Published: Aug. 9, 2019 at 11:35 AM CDT
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Out of the 1.7 million Iowans who gambled in the last 12 months, a new study from the Iowa Department of Public Health finds 13.6% are "at risk", meaning they are seeing symptoms of problem gambling.

to see the full report.

The University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research prepared the report.

The study titled "Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2018 Survey of Adult Iowans" said these numbers are up from a 2015 survey which found that out of 68.1% of gamblers, 12.6% were at risk.

According to the health department, symptoms of problem gambling include:

-Preoccupied with gambling, and/or restless or irritable when not gambling

-Secretive about gambling habits, and defensive when confronted

-Increasing bet amounts when gambling in order to achieve the desired excitement

-Trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back or stop gambling

-Gambling to escape problems

-Chasing losses with more gambling

-Committing crimes to finance gambling

-Jeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, education or career opportunities because of gambling

-Relying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling

The report includes a portion regarding sports betting. It found about 9% of Iowans bet on sports or played fantasy sports.

"In this combined group, 23% were classified as at-risk gamblers, higher than the overall gambling at-risk percentage of 13.6%," the health department said.

Iowa lawmakers and Governor Reynolds signed sports betting into law this year. It follows last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave states the choice on whether or not to make sports betting legal. It will start Aug. 15.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, visit Your Life Iowa at

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