California's Office of Problem and Pathological Gambling (OPG) has provided funding for the largest gambling prevalence study of its kind in California or the U.S. Over 7000 adult California citizens were surveyed using random digit dialing techniques with varied attempts to reach respondents. The 2006 California Problem Gambling Prevalence Survey is definitely worth examining.
Given that states like California are gambling on gambling to help finance their tenuous state budgets, that gambling has a long history of being associated with varied social problems and crime, and that varied groups have huge financial stakes in gambling in California (and elsewhere), there's a need for information about such an important issue.
The significant increases in gaming and gambling across the country and California have raised concerns about the increase of 'pathological' or problem gaming. How many people gamble or have gambled? How many of these have gambled recently and how many have varied levels of 'addiction' or associated problem behaviors? A very big question is: How does access to local gaming affect whether or not people engage in problem gaming? This study does a very good job of attempting to estimate the prevalence and incidence of gambling in California. The results should be of great interest to the debates about casinos and gaming.
On p. 31 of the study (see link above) Table 3 (click here for popup) of the study shows that the frequency of gambling participation is not trivial.
Did you know there is a the hot line for people who have a gambling problem (1.800.GAMBLER)? This study shows that most people don't.