July 2017: Volume 77
another remarkable year for the florida council on compulsive gambling!
Since 1988, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) has been helping Floridians who have been affected by problem gambling. The month of July starts a new fiscal year for the FCCG. However before we focus our attention on the future, we would like to share some of the findings based on data collected throughout the year to continue to bring awareness to this hidden addiction.
WHAT DID PROBLEM GAMBLING LOOK LIKE THIS YEAR?
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the FCCG received over 5,700 contacts from individuals seeking help or information on problem gambling. The FCCG received calls from 58 different counties in the state of Florida. These calls were either made to the 1-888-ADMIT-IT Helpline or through one of our other contact methods, such as text, chat, or email. The FCCG has HelpLine Specialists available 24 hours a day no matter which way someone reaches out for assistance. The majority of help contacts were made by the gambler (78%). Also, the primary precipitating event for reaching out to the FCCG for assistance was relationship problems as stated by 29%.
The game of choice for most gamblers was slots at 44%, followed by cards (30%), and lottery games (13%). Although the 1-888-ADMIT IT HelpLine is available to the entire state of Florida, the majority of calls came from Miami-Dade County at 22%. Other counties where a significant amount of contacts originated were Broward (19%), Orange (10%), and Palm Beach (8%).
Comorbidity is common for those with a gambling problem. Those contacting the 1-888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine reported feelings of Anxiety (77%), Depression (68%), and Suicidal Ideation (28%). Other negative social/domestic impacts included Family Conflict (78%), Family Neglect (74%), and Family Violence (5%).
Another startling figure is that 42% of gamblers reported committing illegal acts in order to finance their addiction. The most common act committed was fraud, such as bad checks or forgery.
As expected the financial consequences of problem gambling are huge. The average lifetime loses for gamblers was reported to be $133,889, with the average debt to be $45,574. This is despite 48% of the gamblers making less than $45,000 per year.