Socially Disadvantaged Neighborhoods More Prone to Problem Gambling
A research team at the University of Buffalo has concluded that those who come from poorer areas are at a higher risk of developing a gambling problem.The team carried out telephone interviews with almost 5,000 people aged 14 to 90 across the United States. They found that problem gambling was twice as prevalent in neighborhoods with the highest levels of concentrated poverty.
The team determined “neighborhood disadvantage” using census factors such as the unemployment level, the number of people that received public assistance and/or live in poverty. It found that in neighborhoods with the highest disadvantage over 11% of people were problem gamblers compared to just 5% in the most advantaged neighborhoods.
This is very similar to a few studies conducted in the early 1990s. There has been a lot of research into the demographics and prevalence of problem gambling. However, this is the first to explicitly deal with disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Grace M. Barnes, the lead researcher and first author of the study said, “We found that neighborhood disadvantage had a substantial effect on problem gambling, even after controlling for a person’s socioeconomic status, age, gender or race. We also controlled for the convenience of gambling opportunities in these neighborhoods, and our findings were unchanged.”