Gambling behavior negatively impacts 1 in 5 Iowans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gambling behavior negatively impacts 1 in 5 Iowans

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Whether it's you, your Aunt Mary, or your cousin Joe, chances are two out of the three of you have gambled in the past year. That's according to a new study out of the University of Northern Iowa -- the first of its kind in more than 15 years.

"It was time for an update to see what was going on in terms of people's gambling behaviors and attitudes," said Melvin Gonnerman, Senior Research Methodologist for UNI Center for Social and Behavioral Research.

Some things have changed in that time. For example, how folks are trying their luck. 70% of people say, they gambled on slot machines -- compared with 56% in 1995.

However, the number of people who gamble has stayed about the same -- about nine in ten Iowans. Gonnerman said, a very small minority are classified as pathological gamblers.

"It's right about one percent of Iowans who have some sort of gambling problem," he explained.

The vast majority of people report -- they can go to a casino or pick up a lottery ticket without negative consequences. But one in five people reported that someone else's gambling problem does impact their life. That number is even greater if you show signs of having a gambling addiction -- one in three people with symptoms of problem gambling report being negatively affected by someone else's gambling behavior.

"There's implications not just for those who have the most severe gambling problems, but also people who are just starting to have problems fro their gambling behaviors," said Gonnerman.

There is promising news regarding gambling treatment and prevention. Researchers found, almost everyone knows where to call for help.

"1-800-BETS-OFF. About 90% of people, adults, said that they were aware of the helpline where they could call to get connected to treatment," said Gonnerman.

Pathways Behavioral Services in Waterloo is another resource for family and friends of a problem gambler. They serve a nine county area for gambling treatment, prevention, and recovery. For questions or information, call 319-235-6571.

To read the full report for yourself, click here.

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