Study: more Iowans are gambling and more show “at-risk” behavior

Local News

DES MOINES – A new study from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows that over 1.7 million adult Iowans gambled during the past 12 months.

Of that number, about 315,000 Iowans are classified as “at-risk,” meaning they are experiencing some symptoms of problem gambling. The numbers are up from the 2015 survey, which found 68.1 percent of adult Iowans had gambled during the past 12 months.

Symptoms of problem gambling include: preoccupied with gambling, irritable when not gambling, trying unsuccessfully to cut back on gambling, losing relationships, etc.

The report, prepared by the University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research, includes a companion document titled Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports, which found about nine percent of adult Iowans either bet on sports or played fantasy sports. In this combined group, 23 percent were classified as at-risk gamblers, higher than the overall gambling at-risk percentage of 13.6 percent.

The IDPH Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention program works to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling by funding a range of services for Iowans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, visit Your Life Iowa at

Iowa’s new sports betting law will go into full effect on August 15.

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