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.
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.