Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council

Gambling

Latest Trends in Gambling

What is the scope of problem gambling in Middlesex County?

In 2011, the State of Connecticut took fifth place in the “Top 20 U.S. Casino Markets” list published by the American Gaming Association (AGA). Connecticut was topped only by Las Vegas, Atlantic City, “Chicagoland,” and Detroit. Gross annual revenue in 2011 was nearly $1.35 billion (AGA) or according to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, was $1.25 billion.

On the state level, Connecticut has lost income from gambling over the past decade. In 2002 the “gross sales for lottery, parimutuel and charitable gaming” was about $1.27 billion dollars. By 2011 it was slightly down at $1.24 billion. The state reported that “Charitable Gaming” including Bingo – which is legal for youth – accounted for $18,035,816 in gross revenue for 2011. (CT Department of Consumer Protection)

Students in Middlesex County were surveyed about their gambling activities in the past twelve months. Table A. displays the percentages of young people from seven local school districts who gambled for money or other valuables. With an average rate of 18.7%, our students gamble at a significantly lower rate than the state average of 25.2% (YRBS). Also, there is a striking difference between the sexes with an average of 25.6% boys reporting gambling in the past twelve months while only 9.2% of the girls did so.

Table A. Percent of middle and high school students who gambled in past 12 months

Location 7th-8th 9th-12th

Town B 12 14.5

Town C 15 15.5

Town D 12 19.75

Town E 11 15.5

Town F 24 22

Town H 13 19.5

Town I 14 24

Average 14.4 18.7

State H.S. Avg. 25.2%

Source: Mx. Cty. surveys & YRBS

The Consequences of Problem Gambling

The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling (CCPG) compiles an annual report of calls received by their Helpline in the prior year. The vast majority of the 556 calls to the Helpline in 2011 came from Connecticut gamblers or those gamblers’ “significant others.” Only Connecticut information is included in the following statistics from CCPG:

Seventy-five percent of the callers were problem gamblers and 25% were significant others.
Women were almost twice as likely to be the “significant other” caller.
At age 25-34, nearly three times as many men as women call the Helpline. Among callers age 54+, nearly three times as many women call.
Of those callers volunteering information on race and ethnicity, 64% were Caucasian, 17% African-Americans, and 4% Latinos.

Anxiety (56.8%) and depression (49.7%) were the most frequently reported emotional responses for both women and men. Family/spousal conflict (38.4%) was the most frequent family issue cited by both women and men. Difficulty paying bills (47.3%), borrowing money (33.3%), and using equity/savings (29.5%) were the most frequently reported financial issues. Women ranked higher in participation in criminal acts, yet men indicated more involvement in the criminal justice system (jail, arrest, and probation) than did the women. (CCPG)

It took a significant amount of time for problem gamblers to contact the Helpline, even after recognizing that they had a problem. Both men and women reported an average of nine years to ask for help. Financial losses in 2011 were estimated by these callers at less than $20,000 (75%), between $20,000 and $50,000 (12.5%), and $50,000 to $100,000 (3.1%). A few callers had lost more than one million dollars.

Our Capacity to Address This Issue

CNAW members felt that state government’s dependence on gambling revenues will outpace its support of problem gambling education and treatment for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the lowest rating of 2.8 was given to our community’s capacity to address this problem.

393 Main Street, 2nd floor Middletown, CT 06457