Adults and Problem Gambling

The Maryland Baseline Survey conducted in 2010 before the first casinos were opened in Maryland indicated 3.4% of adults in Maryland fit the criteria to be identified as problem gamblers, or 150,000 adults. The number in itself is not static so we are looking at a snapshot from 2010. The 150,000 adults represent a significant group of Marylanders. Imagine the M&T Ravens Football stadium filling to capacity, not once, but twice.

Who can become a problem gambler?

A problem gambler can be any age, gender, ethnicity, religion or socio-economic status. There are risk factors that can increase a person’s susceptibility to developing a gambling problem, such as a family history of problem gambling, a big win early in one’s gambling experience, loneliness, boredom, peer pressure, a history of substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Gambling becomes a problem when the person’s life is negatively impacted, causing conflicts in relationships with family members, friends or co-workers. Often people may not realize they have a gambling problem. Once aware of the gambling problem, a person’s feelings of shame, embarrassment or hopelessness may prevent them from seeking help. Finally, they may not know help is available or how to find it.

If you need help for yourself,
a family member or friend

  • Call the Problem Gambling Helpline, a toll free service, for confidential assistance available 24 hours a day at 1-800-GAMBLER.
  • Get a referral from the helpline to a clinician across the state with expertise in problem gambling.
  • Find out from the helpline about a referral to Gamblers’ Anonymous or Gam-Anon meetings. Or check out this link to GA Meetings.

Gambling Problem Prevention Tips

  • Gamble for entertainment, not as a way to make money.
  • Set a budget BEFORE you start to gamble and stick to it.
  • Never chase losses.
  • Limit your time to gamble.
  • Don’t mix drinking and gambling.
  • Balance gambling with other recreational activities.