Americans now spend more money on gambling each year than on movie tickets, recorded music, theme parks, spectator sports, and video games combined. For most people, wagering is an enjoyable diversion, but for a sizable minority gambling becomes a compulsion, with devastating effects for individuals and their families. An estimated 5.5 million American adults are problem or pathological gamblers, and another 15 million can be considered at risk for problem gambling.
In this book, Rachel Volberg delves into the darker side of the recent growth of lotteries, casinos, and other forms of gambling in this country, arguing that problem gambling should be considered an issue of public health and addressed accordingly. She describes the prevalence of problem and pathological gambling, details its costs to society, and recommends steps to improve monitoring, prevention, and treatment of this affliction.