BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new study will be looking into the booming casino business and the impact it has on people living in Maryland.
Since 2010, the state has seen a rapid growth of casinos, with a new one popping up almost every year, and a sixth on the way.
Researchers want to know if the booming gaming industry is also increasing gambling addiction.
“We know that gambling has an impact on things like suicide–highest suicide of any addiction–bankruptcy, domestic violence,” said Jeffrey Beck, a clinical director for the University of Maryland, focusing on gambling problems.
Having overcome his own gambling addiction, Beck knows the disorder all too well.
His concern is the accessibility of gaming in Maryland.
“You can’t get hooked until you try it,” Beck said.
Experts say only five percent of gamblers are actually addicted, and there have been no studies that show casinos cause the problem.
While researchers are working to determine a casino’s impact on a gambling addiction, it’s clear they’re a huge economic boost for Maryland, bringing in a record revenue of more than $100 million a month.
But casinos are not the only way people can gamble.
“You can gamble on your cell phone, you can do it online, you can do it by phone. So there are so many means,” said Sharon Bolden, Institute for Behavioral Resources.
Bolden has an extensive background in treating those with a gambling addiction. She says the responsibility falls on the individual, not the industry.
“I don’t believe that they’re feeding off those with an addiction because I think they are being as responsible as they can be,” said Bolden.
Researchers hope to have the survey results of casinos impacting addiction available by the end of 2017.
For information on treating a gambling addiction, CLICK HERE.