Recent research suggests nearly 2.5 million Americans experience gambling addiction and nearly three million others are considered problem gamblers. The compulsion to gamble can be extremely risky and devastating for the gambler and family members. More than 80 percent of the population of the USA has reported gambling in some form or another. Some serious side effects may include:

  • Loss of jobs
  • Failed relationships
  • Severe, crippling debt
  • Mental health problems including depression, mood disorders and anti-social personality disorders

Treatment is available for gambling addiction and has been highly successful depending on the individual seeking help.

Economic Impact

Billions of dollars are lost annually to gambling addictions. Nearly $40 billion was spent on social services and losses for those who gamble. Illegal activity is common for problem gamblers and those with addiction regarding payback of debts. Addiction places hardship on people, families, community, prison systems, public assistance and legal systems.

Some of the dangers of gambling addiction include:

  • Increased rates of unemployment
  • Bankruptcy
  • Fraud
  • Forced home sales
  • Increased drug, alcohol abuse
  • Poor mental, physical health

Social Effects

People with addiction may suffer but the family bears the cost many times for addiction to gambling. Physical and psychological consequences will occur. More than 85 percent of families with a gambling addiction report receiving threats from creditors and bill collectors. Other effects include:

  • Increased rate of divorce
  • Physical, emotional abandonment
  • Children of gambling addiction experience great losses
  • Verbal, physical, mental abuse or neglect of children
  • Risk of developing addiction later in life for kids

Compulsive Gambling

A compulsive gambler is one who experiences devastating effects immediately. A large number of individuals use credit cards and debit cards to pay for addiction to gambling. This places the person in debt with a risk of losing the home, vehicles or families. Many issues may pop up, including:

  • Family problems in approximately 90 percent of homes where an individual struggles with a gambling addiction
  • Financial devastation which includes legal issues from stealing
  • Job loss due to missed work or interference with work relationships and work productivity. Only 20 percent of gamblers are able to maintain jobs and addiction at the same time.

At the end of the day, the effects of gambling are far reach and devastating beyond the impact it has on the individual. The entire family suffers along with the individual but also communities and workplaces suffer as well. The losses and impact are greater than most people realize until it is too late. It is beneficial to seek help as soon as possible for oneself or a loved one if a gambling problem is suspected.


Hired Power supports individuals with addiction who are struggling to recover. Call us if you or a loved one have a gambling problem or other addiction and need some help to get back on track.