How many people gamble?

Recent statistics state that there are over 6 billion people in the world. So what percentage of people gamble? We look into the question: “How many people gamble?” here.

minute read

Gambling statistics

According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, there are over 6 billion people in the world. Of this number, some are children some originate from countries whose basic priorities for food or housing make gambling a luxury that is unaffordable.  Researchers at Washington University at St. Louis assessed risks and rates of gambling in 2005.  According to their gambling rates study, approximately 1.6 billion people gamble during any given year with over 4.2 billion having gambled at one time or another.

Problem gambling statistics and reporting issues

Although gambling is simply one form of recreation and fun for many people, studies have shown that for 4% to 6% of gamblers it can become a compulsion or addiction. This percentage changes depending on who is doing the survey. For example, in areas where the government depends on lottery profits and casinos rely on the gambler for their profits, the survey may not reveal a realistic picture.

Furthermore, the number of people who may encounter problems with their gambling may be skewed because of the guilt and shame associated with the gambling issue. Surveys taken in areas where there are a large number of casinos would reveal more gambling problems than if the survey were taken in areas where no casinos were available. In addition, it would be difficult to take surveys of the number of people who gamble on-line and in secrecy. The number of people who play Bingo, purchase raffle tickets, and the ones who purchase lottery tickets at their local grocery store, drug store, or the convenience store, may not even be included in the surveys.

Not ANTI-gambling, but PRO-recovery

We all know that gambling has been here since early history and will be here till the end of time. More money is spent on gambling than on the combination of all other forms of entertainment. Gambling can be exciting and challenging. In fact, I’m not against gambling. A large population can visit casinos occasionally, bet on sports, buy lottery tickets and walk away after the game is over. But some cannot. To the novice and even to the seasoned gambler, the excitement, the promise of a huge win, “The Impossible Dream”, and the chance for a new life, will always blur the destruction.

Gambling problems cause loss of home and family, employment and sometimes, the gamblers life. My intent here is to make information on the gambling addiction available to everyone before they make that first bet. However, I will be there without judgment when the hand of a compulsive gambler reaches out and whispers, “Please help me.”

About the author
Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.
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