Problem & Disordered Gambling Initiative
For the general public:
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, please call the hotline at any of the following numbers:
Symptoms of Problem and Disordered Gambling
- Increase in the frequency and the amount of money gambled
- The person gambles for longer periods of time with more money than originally planned
- A large amount of time is spent gambling or obtaining money with which to gamble
- The person gambles at the expense of personal or family time
- The person will begin to borrow money to gamble, possibly taking out secret loans or maximizing credit cards
- The person will begin “chasing” or have the urgent need to keep gambling, often with larger bets or taking of greater risks in order to make up for a loss or series of losses
- The person spends the majority of their free time thinking about gambling
- The person feels a sense of euphoria, arousal, or a high from gambling
- The person uses gambling as a way to cope with unpleasant feelings
- The person has frequent mood swings: higher moods when winning; lower moods when losing
- The person brags about wins but omits their losses
- The person continues to gamble despite negative consequences such as large losses, work or family problems caused by gambling
- The person lies or has secretive behavior to cover up extent of their gambling
- According to the National Council on Problem Gambling an estimated four percent of adults (8 million) in the United States either meet the criteria for disordered gambling, or would be considered problem gamblers.
- The vast majority of gambling-related crimes are non-violent; embezzlement, check forgery, stealing credit cards, fencing stolen goods, tax evasion, insurance fraud, employee theft and fraud are common gambling-related crimes.
- A major depressive disorder is likely to occur in 76 percent of pathological gamblers (Unwin Davis & Leeuw, 2000).
- Problem gamblers who present for care have the highest suicide rate among addictions. Two of every ten gamblers (20%) attempt.
- Violent crimes are 10 percent higher where legalized gambling exists.
- During the first 15 years that Atlantic City had casinos, violent crime rose by almost 200 percent, and larceny increased 481percent.
- Gambling addicts tend to progress from losing all their own money, then losing all they can get from their family, and friends, and finally to taking or stealing money from strangers.
- Data gathered in Philadelphia in 2013 indicated a 50% prevalence of problem gamblers amongst the homeless population.
- The percent of high school students who have ever gambled (87percent) exceeds the percent that have used alcohol or drugs (67percent).
- Students who gamble excessively are more likely to abuse substances and vice versa.
- The rate of problem gambling among high school students significantly exceeds the rate for adults.
- Age 10 is the average age at which many adult problem gamblers had their first contact with gambling.
- Four to eight percent of adolescents presently have a serious gambling problem. Another 10 percent to 14 percent of adolescents are at risk for developing a serious gambling problem.
- A recent study found that more than 50 percent of young people who gamble reported problems like over-spending. Teens record that they can win/lose as much as $150 to $200 a night.
- A recent nationwide study estimated 2.9 million young people are gambling by playing cards on a weekly basis.
- 84 percent of parents do not object to their children gambling.
- 61 percent of teens who gamble do with their parent’s permission.
- Children of problem gamblers have been shown to have higher levels of use for tobacco, alcohol, drug use, and overeating than do their classroom peers (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997).
Other Helpful Links
If you would like more information please contact Thomas E. Owens at Thomas.E.Owens@phila.gov.
- Leadership Team
- Community Behavioral Health (CBH)
- Communications Office
- Evidence-based Practice and Innovation Center (EPIC)
- Fiscal Division
- Intellectual disAbility Services (IDS)
- Management Services Division
- Network Improvement and Accountability Collaborative (NIAC)
- Office of Addiction Services
- Behavioral Health Special Initiative (BHSI)
- Provider Development & Transformation Initiatives
- BHSI Intensive Case Management Services
- Philadelphia Prevention Partnership
- Recovery House Initiative
- Forensic Intensive Recovery/ Justice Addiction Treatment Initiatives
- Problem & Pathological Gambling Initiative
- Prevention Services
- Drug-Free Coalitions
- Student Assistance Program (SAP) Services
- Office of Mental Health (OMH)
- Office of the Chief Information Officer
- Office of the Chief Medical Officer
- Strategic Planning and Innovation Division
- Grants Opportunities
- DBHIDS Study Tours