With as many as 275,000 adult Louisiana residents involved in gaming activities, the odds are good that someone you know or love has an addiction to gambling.

A study of gambling in Louisiana found it is a problem that crosses all ages, genders and races. 

  • There are an estimated 179,239 potential adult problem gamblers statewide. A problem gambler is someone who is at-risk for addiction.
  • There are 98,020 potential adult pathological or compulsive gamblers in Louisiana.
  • Also, a 2010 Louisiana youth survey found that more than 40 percent of sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grade students have engaged in some form of gambling in the previous year.
  • Calls to the toll-free Problem Gamblers Helpline show that females represented 42 percent of the callers and males represented 48 percent.
  • Most of the callers identified themselves as either Caucasian (50 percent) or African American (43 percent).

To raise awareness about Louisiana’s services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared March 2017 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The movement coincides with National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

“It is important to remember that our efforts to improve health in Louisiana must include the availability of treatment and prevention for problems such as gambling addiction,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee. “Louisiana offers a wide variety of treatment programs aimed specifically at problem gamblers, and we will use this month to spread awareness of the problem and shine light on the resources available to address it.”  

Signs of a gambling problem include: 

  • Lying to loved ones about gambling activity 
  • Deterioration of work performance 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Missing deadlines and important responsibilities 
  • Worrying about mounting debts and inability to pay them

“Gambling becomes a serious problem when you can’t manage or control it,” says Department of Health-Office of Behavioral Health Assistant Secretary Dr. James E. Hussey. “A problem gambler loses control and cannot stick to limits, even when gambling is causing serious financial, family, work or other problems.”

Anyone who suspects they might have a gambling problem, or who thinks a loved one has such as problem is encouraged to call or text the Problem Gambler’s Helpline at1-877-770-STOP (7867). Callers can receive information to contact a counselor for a free assessment and free treatment.

This toll-free helpline handles on average, 2,400 calls or direct requests for help each month. 

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.