Stages of Gambling


Gambling problems develop and worsen over time, similar to alcoholism or substance abuse. The stages of gambling range from mild or occasional problems to severe, repetitive problems that can affect many different areas of a gambler’s life.

Stages of Gambling Chart

  • Non-Gamblers: About 17% of adults in California have never gambled.3
  • Casual/Social Gamblers: Most people gamble casually, with about 75% of adults gambling at least once a year and 15% at least weekly.2 Lottery or raffle tickets are the most common form of gambling for adults in California,3 while many others may go to a casino, card room or racetrack for entertainment.
  • At-risk Gamblers: In California, about 10% of adults aged 18 and over – 2,900,000 people (based on the 2013 California population estimate) – are “at-risk” of becoming problem gamblers at some time in their lives.3 They are generally people gamble often and consider it to be their main or preferred form of entertainment, but do not put gambling before family or work.1
  • Problem Gamblers: Experiencing difficulties in their personal, work and social relationships1, about 6 million adults and 500,000 teens meet the criteria for gambling addiction nationally.2 It is estimated that in California, 2.2%, – some 642,000 people (based on the 2013 California population estimate) – are problem gamblers.3
  • Disordered Gamblers: Disordered gambling is a disease and for those people who suffer from it, gambling seriously harms all aspects of their lives. Afflicted with this most severe form of gambling problems, they are unable to control the urge to gamble despite the harm it causes. These people are more likely to use gambling to escape from their problems or to get relief from anxiety.1 About 1.5%, or as many as 438,000 adults in California are disordered gamblers.

Don’t get caught in the addiction. View the sign and symptoms and remember the responsible gambling tips to lower your risk of developing a problem.

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