Turns out there is a high cost to letting les bon temps roule. According to a new study by WalletHub, Louisiana is one of the top ten most gambling-addicted states in the country.
According to the findings, Louisiana’s final score was 36.57 — ranking ninth, just ahead of Ohio in the top ten ranking. Unsurprisingly, the most addicted state is the home to Las Vegas: Nevada. Other states in the top ten include South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
The survey analyzed the fifty states based on ten metrics comparing gambling-friendliness with gambling problem and treatment. Despite not leading the number of casinos and gambling machines per capita or highest lottery sales per capita, Louisiana ranked third for the highest percentage of adults with gambling disorders in the country.
It is a troubling finding that points to the lack of addiction support and awareness in the state. According to the American Casino Guide, there are 24 casinos in the state of Louisiana — with just one land-based casino in New Orleans, Harrah’s. Still, past surveys have shown New Orleans outranks the 'Las Vegas of the East’ Atlantic City as a desirable gambling destination.
Earlier this year, Governor John Bel Edwards declared March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Louisiana, to coincide with a nationwide initiative to spread awareness about gambling addiction throughout the month.
A recent study published by the Louisiana Department of Health concluded that over a quarter million adult state residents are at risk of gambling addiction. The Department's study showed that gambling addiction transcends all genders, ages, races, and orientations. Half of callers to the Louisiana Association of Compulsive Gambling (LACG)'s Problem Gamblers Helpline are Caucasian, while 43 percent identify as African-American. The Helpline reported that males make up 48 percent and women 43 percent, with the remaining callers either unidentified or gender nonconforming.
The Department of Health estimated nearly 180,000 adult gamblers at risk of addiction, with an additional 98,000 Louisiana residents already designated compulsive or pathological gamblers.