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Statistics on the Impact of Problem Gambling on Crime

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:41 pm
by tammy rigsby
Impact of Problem Gambling on Crime

“Gambling is commonly viewed as a form of entertainment, however for many compulsive gamblers, it can be their ticket to a permanent change of life – a criminal record.”

Gambling has become a mainstream activity and as a result, the number of those who develop serious gambling problems has increased. Based on Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) HelpLine data, a growing number of Floridians are becoming involved in illegal activities to support their compulsive gambling. National statistics also show an increasing number of crimes associated with gambling addiction.

Compulsive gamblers get very good at manipulating and juggling their assets in order to make just one more bet. In the search for more money, however, the compulsive gambler will often lose sight of what belongs to them and what belongs to others. It may begin small, taking money from a family member’s wallet or writing a bad check, but this behavior can escalate over time into major transgressions such as theft and embezzlement.

DID YOU KNOW:

• The FCCG HelpLine reports that 30% of callers have committed a crime to fund their gambling.

• An estimated 50-67% of all compulsive gamblers have been involved in some type of illegal activity.

• FCCG prevalence studies document that Florida’s adult problem and pathological gamblers are four times as likely to have been arrested as non-problem gamblers.

• Nearly 1/3rd of problem and compulsive gamblers have been arrested at some point in their lives.

• FCCG prevalence studies document that Florida’s adolescent gamblers also exhibit illegal behavior related to their gambling.

• Seventeen percent (17%) of adolescents, ages 11-20, incarcerated by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FL DJJ), attribute their imprisonment in a DJJ facility to gambling (Lieberman and Cuadrado, 2002).

• The most common criminal offenses that compulsive gamblers commit include writing bad checks, forgery, fraud, theft and embezzlement, sale of drugs, and burglary.

Despite the above statistics, the extent to which problem and compulsive gambling impacts the legal and criminal justice system is widely unknown. However, with the expansion of gambling in the state, legal problems are on the rise and costly to society. The impacts reach well beyond the gambler and eventually affect not only families, but also the legal and the criminal justice system, communities, and the State.

As the number of people addicted to gambling increases, a new population of those committing crimes is created. Many of these individuals have no prior history of violating the law and appear to have done so only as a result of their gambling addiction.

For more information on crime and compulsive gambling
Call or email the
Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG).
888-ADMIT-IT fccg@gamblinghelp.org