Anti-gambling advocates would be pleased to know that Michigan ranks near the bottom of most addictive gambling states, according to a new study.
WalletHub, a financial advisory firm, recently conducted a study titled to determine which states are most addicted to gambling. It shows Michigan is the seventh least addictive gambling state in America.
The top 10 least addictive gambling states are:
- North Carolina
Breaking down the research
According to WalletHub’s website, the study looked at two key dimensions, “gambling-friendliness and gambling problem and treatment,” which were then evaluated using 20 relevant metrics.
Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale with 100 being the highest dependency on gambling.
Some of the gambling-friendliness metrics include:
- Gaming machines per 1,000 resident
- Commercial & Tribal casinos per capita
- Lottery sales per capita
- The legality of sports betting
Gambling problem and treatment metrics include:
- Gamblers Anonymous meetings per capita
- Presence of National Council of Problem Gambling affiliation
- Statewide self-exclusion statute
- Gambling counselors per capita
One of the key findings shows Michigan has the lowest percentage of adults with a gambling disorder, ahead of significant states like Connecticut, Florida and New York.
Sports betting means tax dollars
Conversely, several states looking to pass sports betting bills this year rank amongst the highest gambling-addicted states.
Mississippi, New Jersey, and West Virginia were some of the early implementers of sports betting following the Supreme Court ruling in May 2018.
The most addictive gambling states are:
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, and Oregon have all entertained the idea of passing sports betting bills this year.
Cory Aronovitz, a managing member of Casino Law Group, told WalletHub states that already have some form of gambling should consider sports betting.
“States that already have some form of regulated commercial gambling should consider expanding to include sports wagering if for no other reason competitive protection for its licensees that have made a significant investment into that jurisdiction.
“When an activity becomes socially acceptable, it then becomes politically palatable and thus regulated with a focus on maximizing revenues to the state.”
Potential societal cost
However, there are drawbacks to the legalization of such activities.
“The pro, as I understand it, is if sports betting were legal in all states then all states could regulate it as they see fit and also tax it,” said Robert Leeman, an associate professor in the Department of Health Education & Behavior at the University of Florida.
“The con — it will be more readily accessible. For most people who engage in sports betting (as with any addictive behavior), it is done merely recreationally, so essentially, for most people, you’re simply enhancing their access to a fun activity.”
Leeman added that the expansion of gambling could also lead to added societal cost in multiple ways.
“While some progress has been made on this front, treatment for gambling disorder is challenging. There is not a particular treatment with clear, strong evidence for its efficacy,” Leeman said.
The study showed the states with the highest percentage of adults with gambling disorders were:
- New Jersey