A recent study conducted by financial analysis website Wallethub.com noted that Louisiana ranks among the top 10 states when it comes to gambling addiction.
"Louisiana has a large number of gaming machines per capita, and, as a result, some of the highest revenues from limited-stakes gaming and commercial casinos,” said analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Additionally, there are slot machines in retail or convenience stores and illegal gambling operations were discovered throughout the state.”
She noted that the other reasons Louisiana ranks highly on the list include the legality of horse race gambling and the presence of state-provided gambling addiction programs. There are many warning signs that someone can be addicted to gambling.
The signs include but are not limited to:
Obsession with gambling
Frequently placing large bets
Lack of social life
Poor work performance
Gonzalez said to help someone who is addicted to gambling “friends and family could try to make them understand that gambling addiction is a serious condition that requires medical assistance."
While individuals can seek help for themselves and their family members, lawmakers have a difficult political field to navigate when regulating something in such high demand. Gonzalez noted the challenges that come with states that allow gambling.
"When dealing with problems related to gambling addiction,” she said, “lawmakers should consider restricting access to gambling facilities, and organizing meetings where people could be able to talk to a counselor about their condition."
A recent topic that has divided many in Louisiana is whether sports gambling should be legal or not. Websites like DraftKings and Fanduel are currently illegal in parts of the state, and it is a hotly debated topic among gamblers and nongamblers alike.
Gonzalez specifically spoke about the pros and cons of sports betting and gave more detail into the controversial topic.
"To determine whether sports betting should be legal, we should first be able to assess all the consequences of it,” she said. “One of the pros of legalizing sports betting is the tax revenue it would generate. The main con of legalization would be the potential negative effect it could have on society and individuals' health and finances."
While there may not be any immediate answers on the horizon, people who are struggling with gambling addictions should seek help immediately.
Those looking for help with their gambling addiction can contact the Louisiana Association of Compulsive Gambling by logging on to www.helpforgambling.org or by calling them at 877-770-7867.