South Dakota Facing Major Gambling Addiction Problem?
The gambling industry in the United States generates billions of dollars for state coffers, creates thousands of employment opportunities and also supports a number of charity and NGOs. However, many legislators and problem gambling organizations have raised concerns over the increase in problem gamblers and the negative impact that gambling addiction has on families and society.
A new report by WalletHub reveals which states suffer the most from gambling addiction in the country. It is no surprise that Nevada is ranked number one when it comes to the most gambling-addicted states in the country as Las Vegas is the gaming capital in the country. What might come as a surprise is that South Dakota is ranked as the second-most gambling addicted state.
Gambling addiction counselors acknowledge that addiction to sports betting is definitely on the rise in South Dakota. However, they believe that it is not sports gambling that is the biggest problem in the state. They think that the biggest issue is the increasingly large number of casinos in the state.
According to the WalletHub report South Dakota is tied for having the most casinos per capita, while it has the 3rd most gaming machines per capita. Addiction counselors have observed that people can find a video lottery on the corner of just about every street. This easy accessibility has ensured that people will always have a chance to go to a casino and get an opportunity to play.
This easy access fuels the addiction of many gamblers. Gambling addicts face an uphill struggle on how they can resist the temptation to gamble. The leading cause of suicide in South Dakota is gambling related issues.
South Dakota Looking To Address Gambling Concerns
In a statement, Wade LaRoche, the South Dakota Department of Revenue Public Affairs Manager said
We put forth a lot of effort that not only are our players having a lot of fun playing the games, but also playing responsibly.
The State Department of Revenue provides oversight on all the gambling and lotteries in South Dakota. It wishes to help the many who have been dragged into the orbit of gambling addiction. Their main avenue of help is their problem gambling helpline. All calls are
confidential and LaRoche promises that they provide the resources that people need to fight off their gambling addiction.
This epidemic of problem gambling is balanced against the fact that gambling is a major source of revenue for South Dakota. Since it started in 1987, the gambling revenues have provided around $3 billion in state funds. Much of that has been used for education, but it has also been used for development and other state needs.