The 2020 New York State Problem Gambling Prevalence Survey Overview was conducted by NYS OASAS and RTI International between July 24 and December 21, 2020. The purpose was to provide information on New York State adults participating in past-year gambling activities and to gather information on New Yorker’s attitudes and behaviors toward gambling, awareness of resources for problem gambling services, and other substance use and mental health concerns.
Gambling Behaviors of Participants:
- 70.6% of NYS adult residents do NOT gamble.
- 25.1% of NYS adult residents gamble for recreation and do NOT experience problems related to their gambling.
- 4.3% of adult residents in NYS are experiencing problems related to their gambling activity (over 600,000 adults).
Among adults who gamble in NYS, 14.6% meet the criteria for problem gambling.
Gambling Activity in New York State:
- By far, lottery games remain the most popular gambling activity among adult New Yorkers who gamble. Participation in lottery games was the only gambling activity that increased during NYS Pause (March 2019-March 2020).
Demographics of Individuals Who Gamble in NYS:
- Gender: Adult men who gamble are more likely to experience gambling problems (16.6%) compared with adult women who gamble (12.5%).
- Age: The youngest age group of adults who gamble, 18–24, had the highest percentage of individuals experiencing gambling problems (24.8%) compared with their older counterparts. The 25-29 age group had the lowest percentage of individuals experiencing gambling problems at 7.5%.
- Ethnicity, Race and Cultural Background: Problem gambling among Non-Hispanic Black adults in NY who gamble (25.1%) was more prevalent compared with Hispanic adults who gamble and their other racial and ethnic counterparts, particularly Non-Hispanic White adults who gamble (12.4%).
- Education: The percentage of adults who experience gambling problems among those with a high school degree or less is 21.8% whereas the percentage of adults experiencing gambling problems among those with a graduate degree is 5.4%.
- Income: Likewise, the percentage of adults experiencing gambling problems among New Yorkers with the lowest income (less than $30,000) is at 24.1% whereas the percentage of adults experiencing gambling problems among the highest income group (greater than $75,000) is 11.2%.
Mental Health and Gambling:
- There were no significant differences in mental health issues between non-gamblers, recreational gamblers, and problem gamblers.
- The percentage of each type of gambler with or without mental health issues is consistent with their overall percentages within the population.
Substance Abuse and Gambling:
- Although adults experiencing gambling problems represented 4.3% of the New York State population overall, they comprise 14.7% of the population for those with an alcohol, tobacco, or other drug problem.
Perception of Problem Gambling:
- Among adults experiencing gambling problems, 13.4% do not believe gambling can become an addiction while only 8.6% of recreational gamblers and 5.9% of non-gamblers do not believe that gambling can become an addiction.
2020 New York State Problem Gambling Prevalence Survey Final Report. New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. 2021.