Illinois Department of Human
Services Releases First-Ever Statewide Assessment of Gambling
Send a link to a friend
[June 22, 2022]
Today the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
released the first-of-its-kind statewide assessment of problem
gambling in Illinois.
Commissioned by IDHS and conducted by researchers at Health
Resources in Action (HRIA), the assessment reports on the prevalence
of different types of gambling in the state, the availability of
treatment and other services, the prevalence of problem gambling
among different groups, and overall attitudes about gambling.
IDHS is committed to expanding services and continuing to raise
awareness about recovery options available through the website
WeKnowTheFeeling.org, 1-800-GAMBLER, or by texting “ILGamb” to
The study found that 68% of adult Illinoisans reported gambling in
the past year, with the State lottery being the most popular form.
Following legalization and expansion, gambling at video gaming
terminals and online sports betting showed significant growth over
While most adults engage in responsible gambling behaviors, some
experience significant impact on their economic, social, and mental
well-being, developing problem gambling and gambling disorder.
Statewide, the assessment found:
• 3.8% of adult Illinoisans -- approximately 383,000 people -- are
considered to have a gambling problem
• An additional 7.7% -- approximately 761,000 people -- are at risk
for developing a gambling problem
"It is so important that we have data on the patterns and depth of
gambling across the state. I hope this report will be used to
advance and expand effective treatment and recovery options for
people experiencing problem gambling disorder throughout Illinois,”
said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “For those who do struggle with
gambling disorder, they seldom seek help and often hide their
behavior from family members.”
As the number of individuals in need of gambling treatment services
continues to rise, IDHS has made significant investments in gambling
services, including $10 million budgeted for State Fiscal Year 23.
“We hope that the findings of this assessment will
provide much needed information for people working on prevention and
treatment of problem gambling in Illinois, which will help them make
data-informed decisions on how best to assist individuals on their
road to recovery,” said Dr. Hannah Carliner, of Health Resources in
Action, lead author of the study. “The broad scope of this
assessment also enables it to be used as a baseline measure for
future assessments to track changes over time regarding prevalence
of gambling and problem gambling, and availability and use of
services,” she said.
[to top of second column]
The assessment was ordered in response to legislation that
expanded access to gambling across the state. The 250-page report includes 10
recommended strategies the State and partners can take to address problem
gambling amidst this expansion. These include providing consistent funding
toward problem gambling prevention and services, increasing awareness about
problem gambling and its symptoms, and improving access to holistic treatment
for problem gambling.
“These recommendations are based on the needs of Illinoisans identified through
this assessment and informed by best practices from other states to provide a
strategic initiative for the future of gambling disorder recovery and prevention
in Illinois,” said Laura Garcia, Director of the Division of Substance Use
Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) at IDHS. “We are using these findings to develop
strategies to increase awareness about problem gambling; support responsible
gambling; and expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services throughout the
state,” she said.
IDHS continues to work with gambling providers to expand outreach and awareness
of the problems that gambling can cause, and to connect impacted people with the
services that support recovery. IDHS, through SUPR, has funded 26 gambling
treatment programs through SFY22. Twenty-one of them provide outpatient
treatment and outreach services to the communities they serve.
SUPR has also helped providers prepare for an increase in problem gamblers in
need of treatment. In State Fiscal Year 2021, 13,037 assessments were conducted
by treatment providers, representing a 440% increase over the previous year. The
significant growth was followed by a 185% increase over the previous year in the
number of individuals receiving gambling treatment.
Over the past two years, over 245 clinicians have been trained to provide
gambling disorder treatment services in Illinois. This year, SUPR will provide
monthly webinars focused on gambling disorder, a two-day Summit on Problem
Gambling, as well as offer new opportunities for participation in the 30-hour
Gambling Counselor Training.
The State of Illinois provides various intervention, treatment, and recovery
resources, including the Illinois Problem Gambling Helpline, a telephone and web
resource with specialists trained to connect people with treatment and recovery
If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with gambling, contact the
State’s Gambling Helpline weknowthefeeling.org. Call: 1-800-GAMBLER, Text: "ILGamb"
to 53342, or chat here.
[Illinois Office of Communication and