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Hidden Costs of Gambling Addiction in Georgia



Legal or illegal, gambling is not a free ride for Georgia citizens. The social and economic costs of gambling addiction in Georgia translates to damage to families and taxpayer burden. Estimated prevalence rates of gambling addiction in Georgia is 1.4%. An additional 2.6% areCosts of gambling addiction in Georgia classified as problem gamblers with significant impairment. Based upon the 2014 U.S. Census population of 10.1 million, there are approximately  over 403,000 impaired problem gamblers and gambling addicts. The hidden social and economic costs of gambling addiction in Georgia is $1200 annually per gambler while problem gambling costs the state $715 per gambler (view fact sheet).

Total Costs: Over $357 million annually.


Partial Breakdown



Approximately 20-30% of those who meet criteria for gambling addiction have filed for bankruptcy.

Work Related

Work related costs include absenteeism, decreased productivity due to preoccupation with gambling and related debts, unemployment benefits, as well as embezzlement.  More than 50% of problem gamblers have reported to missing work for gambling related reasons. 37% have reported stealing from their job to finance gambling.

Burden to the State Healthcare System

Individuals diagnosed with Gambling Addiction are 98% more likely than non problem gamblers to have visited the emergency room within the past year.

Civil Court System

The rate of divorce for pathological gamblers is 53% higher than that of non-problem gamblers. Problem gamblers experience divorce 39% more often than non-problem gamblers.

What does this all mean to Georgia?


– Higher prevalence of addiction to lottery products including convenience store video poker slots and lottery tickets in areas of high unemployment. Georgia taxpayers pay twice: 1) the costs associated with problem gambling and 2) carrying the costs of unemployment. Disproportionate addiction to lottery products in Central and South Georgia.

– Significant numbers of help seekers through the Georgia Council on Problem Gambling addicted to out-of-state casino gambling, sports gambling and online sports and poker.

– A spike in help seekers after the NCAA March Madness Basketball Championship.

– Need for current prevalence and demographic data because of the rapid increase in online gambling addiction- significant costs of gambling addiction in Georgia.

Whereas one of the most costly illnesses, Gambling Addiction is one of the least expensive illnesses to treat.

For more information on the social and other costs of gambling addiction in Georgia, feel free to contact us below.