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West Virginia ranks No. 4 as most gambling-addicted state


The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — According to a recent release from WalletHub, West Virginia is the fourth most gambling-addicted state in the nation.

The study, inspired by the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Saturday, reported Americans lose roughly $100 billion through gambling each year.

WalletHub analysts compared 50 states across 15 key metrics — the data set ranged from presence of illegal gambling operations to lottery sales per capita.

West Virginia ranked No. 1 in “legality of daily fantasy sports” and tied for No. 1 in “lottery sales per capita” with Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland.

The Mountain State ranked No. 5 in legality of sports gambling, and No. 8 in gaming machines per capita. Other statistics include No. 11 for percentage of adults with gambling disorders and No. 19 for casinos per capita.

Perhaps unsurprising was the state ranked No. 1 for the most gambling addicted — Nevada, home of Las Vegas. Nevada ranked No. 1 in most casinos per capita and most gaming machines per capita.

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WalletHub reports gambling disorder affects slightly more than 2 percent of all U.S. adults.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction,” which can lead to serious consequences.

On a societal level, compulsive gambling costs an estimated $6 billion per year, according to a study by the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Individually, a male gambling addict accumulates an average debt of between $55,000 and $90,000 whereas a female averages $15,000. Most cannot afford to pay back what they owe. As a result, gambling addicts develop a high tendency to amass even more debt, suffer from other health issues, lose their jobs, strain their relationships or even commit crimes.

West Virginia offers a toll-free helpline for those with gambling addiction — 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). For additional information, visit

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