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Study: Illinois one of the top states for gambling addiction

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(The Center Square) – Illinois is one of the top sports betting states in the country, but a new study says the state is also home to a high number of people with a gambling addiction.

The personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states across 20 key metrics, including gambling friendliness.

“Under gambling friendliness, we looked at things such as commercial and tribal casinos per capita as well as revenues from limited stakes gambling as well as lottery sales per capita,” said researcher Cassandra Happe.

Illinois is ranked as the fifteenth most gambling-addicted state in the country.

“A major factor for Illinois as for ranking 15th on the list this year, it looks like Illinois has legalized a lot of different kinds of gambling,” said Happe.

There are plenty of options in Illinois for a game of chance, including casinos, sports betting, the lottery, and video gaming machines. Illinois is also home to the most video gambling machines in the country, with an estimated total of over 45,000.

Illinois always places in the top 5 in the country for sports betting. Sportsbooks took more than $1 billion in wagers for the fifth consecutive month in January, the first time that has ever happened. The state reported a handle of $1.2 billion in wagers, making it the state with the third-highest handle for the month. Only New York and New Jersey reported taking more in wagers than Illinois.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants the state to get a bigger piece of action. Pritzker’s latest budget proposal would raise the tax that sportsbooks pay from 15% to 35%.

The top three gambling-addicted states are Nevada, South Dakota and Montana. The three least gambling-addicted states are Utah, Alaska and Vermont.

The Illinois Department of Human Services offers help for those with a gambling problem. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, you are asked to call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Gambling addictions can destroy lives the same way that alcohol and drug addictions can,” said Happe. “While some people may be able to enjoy casual gambling from time to time, others need to avoid temptation altogether.”

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