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Gambling Addiction and Race: Who Is the Most Affected?

Gambling addictions can become a serious problem for many people, leading to financial issues and creating distance and tension with family members. Studies have shown that gambling addictions and race are related, with certain ethnicities being more affected and prone to developing an addiction.

Several factors, such as mental health or family situations, can mean various ethnic groups are more likely to gamble in times of hardship. Understanding that problem gambling and race are interconnected can allow you to take the steps necessary to prevent an addiction from forming or take action to get your or a loved one’s life back on track.

Gambling Addiction and Race

Gambling is common in almost every culture, especially social gambling with friends and family. While some individuals can gamble without any issues, others develop a disorder that can lead them down a path with potential health and well-being consequences.

Gambling addiction does not affect all races equally. Several studies have shown that problem gambling is more prevalent among certain races and ethnic groups. Specifically, Hispanic, Asian and Black people may be at a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction and its consequences. Tense relationships with loved ones and financial problems are significant effects of problem gambling.

Understanding the relationship between gambling addiction and ethnicity can help identify the causes of these addictions, prevent them in the future and develop a targeted treatment for recovery.


Black people represent some of the most significant rates of gambling disorders. Studies show that Black people have over twice the rate of gambling addictions compared to white people. Black youth are also considerably more likely than white youth to engage in gambling activities, leading to problem gambling and addiction later in their lives.

Overall, young Black males are associated with the highest rates of gambling disorders in the United States. Studies have shown that Black people with lower general health measures living in disadvantaged neighborhoods with the lowest income brackets are the most likely to be affected by gambling. Additionally, Black people with gambling disorders are more likely to develop higher rates of anxiety and personality disorders. They might even develop substance use disorders.


The Hispanic community experiences significantly less prevalence of gambling addictions compared to Black and Asian groups. Overall, the rate of problem gambling in Hispanic people is about 1%. While problem gambling may not be as common compared to other ethnic groups, Hispanic people are more at risk of developing a gambling disorder from problem gambling and developing other addictions in the process.

Studies have shown that Hispanics with gambling disorders are more likely to have other mental health conditions, including mood, anxiety, personality and substance use disorders, than their white counterparts, who also gamble regularly. One study found that gambling addiction was four times more prevalent among Hispanic American veterans than the general population. The study also found that people with major depression, alcohol use disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were more likely to have a gambling disorder.


Gambling can play a significant role in some Asian cultures that view it as more of a social activity than the general population. Since many Asian people are social gamblers, they are more prone to developing issues and negative consequences of gambling in the future.

South East Asian refugees have one of the highest rates of problem gambling, with a lifetime prevalence of 59%. Among college students, studies also found that Chinese students reported the highest gambling rates, followed by Koreans and then white people. Overall, Chinese males with current or previous alcohol or drug problems have the highest rates of gambling addictions.


Compared to other races and ethnic groups, white people tend to have the lowest rates of problem gambling at about 1.2%. While white people are generally less likely to have a gambling addiction and other associated disorders than minority groups, certain groups within white communities are more likely to develop issues with gambling.

White men are 72% more likely to develop a gambling addiction than 54% of Black males. These men also tend to be in the lowest income bracket and between the ages of 30 to 44. Additionally, white people with problem gambling are more likely than other groups to have an alcohol use disorder or nicotine dependence.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Problem Gambling

Factors That Increase the Risk of Problem Gambling

Several factors can increase the risk of developing an issue with gambling. Members of Black, Hispanic and Asian communities are more likely to experience circumstances that will put them more at risk for problem gambling, such as poverty, incarceration and homelessness. Other factors that affect the risk of developing a gambling addiction include mental health, social group and proximity.

Mental Health

Certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop mental health issues that can increase their risk of developing a gambling addiction. These minority groups often experience risk factors for developing mental health disorders such as living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, experiencing poverty and completing a low level of education.

As a result, these groups are more likely to develop anxiety, personality disorders, depression and substance use disorders. These mental health issues all increase the risk of developing a gambling addiction. People with mental health issues are likely to be emotionally vulnerable and may look to gambling to escape their hardships.

Friends and Family

Being around friends and family who gamble can increase the risk of developing an addiction to gambling. White people with a gambling addiction are more likely to come from a family of gamblers than other ethnic groups. Having friends or family who gamble can make developing a gambling disorder more than twice as likely.

Some cultures and traditions view gambling as a social activity with friends and family, which can further increase the risk of developing a gambling addiction, especially if introduced to it at a young age.


Those with quick and easy access to casinos and other gambling venues are more at risk for problem gambling in the future. A study from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo found that people living within 10 miles of a casino or in a disadvantaged neighborhood were significantly more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

The study revealed that living close to a casino increased the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder by 90%. Additionally, minority groups are more likely to live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, increasing their risk of developing an addiction to gambling, especially if gambling opportunities are nearby.

Gambling Addiction Recovery Is Possible at Gateway Foundation

Gambling Addiction Recovery Is Possible at Gateway Foundation

At Gateway Foundation, we understand that gambling addictions can cause severe hardships for you and your family.

Our friendly and caring staff have over 50 years of experience producing positive outcomes. With our help, you can start on the path to recovery, get your life back on track and rebuild your relationships with loved ones.

Gateway Foundation is committed to you for life, and we can help you achieve your goals and live a life free from addiction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find hope and healing.

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