As gambling in Illinois becomes more prevalent, an addiction expert offers advice on how to participate safely.
A report by the Illinois Department of Health and Social Services and Resources in Action released last month shows that 68% of Illinois adults said they had gambled in the past year, and 3.8% of adults are considered to have a gambling problem.
About 761,000 people, or 7.7% of the population, are at risk of developing a gambling addiction, according to the figures.
Shane Cook, an addiction specialist at the Gateway Foundation, gave advice on what to look for to determine if someone has a gambling problem.
“One thing to look for is honesty in how much they play,” Cook told The Center Square. “Are they being honest with their friends and family about how much they’re spending? If not, there could be a problem.”
Cook also said if someone starts playing, they need to make sure they’re prepared.
“The first thing I would say is make sure you have a plan,” Cook said. “Think of it as a form of recreation and make sure you start a budget. Once you hit your budget, you’re done.”
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows that the state raised more than $1.3 billion in revenue from betting last year.
Around 68.4% of respondents in the DHS report said they had gambled in the past year, with the vast majority playing the lottery, followed by 33% playing with friends and 15.3% betting sports and organized fights.