RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new study finds more than 10 million adults have tried to get help for addiction to gambling – globally, around one in every 400 – and the problem has become a worldwide public health concern.

The research in the scientific journal “Addiction” looked at dozens of studies over the past decade. Findings show that when it comes to moderate-risk gamblers, one in 25 reach out for help. But among those who have a gambling problem, one in five seek help.

So how do you know when gambling becomes more than a game?

“When it stops being fun, when you’re needing to increase the amount of money you’re spending to gamble, when you’re lying about your gambling, if you’re hiding your gambling, if you’re unable to quit and you’ve made attempts to quit,” said Amanda Winters, North Carolina Problem Gambling administrator.

In the U.S., the National Council on Problem Gambling estimates 2 million adults have a gambling addiction. And another 4 to 6 million are considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems. Approximately 85 percent of adults have gambled at least once in their lives, 60 percent in the past year.

With sports betting now legal in about 35 states, the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network says last year it experienced a 45 percent jump in calls from the year prior.

There is a wide array of treatment options for gambling addiction, including professional and non-professional treatment, along with self-help. Free help is available.

“There are resources here to help people,” Winter said. “We just need to stop looking at it as such a scary topic. People can and do recover and live full and healthy lives.”


North Carolina Problem Gambling Helpline

North Carolina Problem Gambling Program

National Problem Gambling Helpline