With the Kentucky Derby and NBA playoffs underway, the financial website Wallet Hub released a report on Tuesday stating that Montana has the most gaming machines per capita and is the third most gambling addicted state in the U.S.

KGVO spoke to Wallet Hub Financial Analyst Jill Gonzalez provided these details on the study.

“This is something that we do every year ahead of the Kentucky Derby where we do see a lot of gambling with the playoffs as well when it comes to the NBA and NHL hockey upcoming, Montana ranked as the third most gambling addicted state only after Nevada of course home to Sin City itself, and South Dakota, Montana ranked third.”

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Gonzalez said Montana came out number one in the country in gaming machines per capita.

“So in Montana, we see the most gaming machines per capita,” she said. So you know, the accessibility to gambling is certainly there while the treatment for gambling is not as accessible. So that's kind of where and why Montana is coming out third in the U.S.”

She said the money spent on gambling is not disposable income and can lead to real financial problems for a Montana family.

“All this money is typically gone immediately, there really is no recourse for that,” she said. “So either way, it's still debt, and it still is taking away from me and from other things that can be very beneficial to a person. This is just one of the many things that people especially during the pandemic might have discovered and might have gotten a little bit more involved in that now that we're getting further and further from the pandemic and that could be curbed.”

Gonzalez said Montana desperately needs more counseling and treatment for problem gamblers.

“Montana when it comes to gambling problems and treatments, that's one of the categories here,” she said. “That's where the state really does need work. Right now there is a high share of adults with gambling disorders, but there's not a lot of gambling counselors per capita, or Gamblers Anonymous meetings, or there could be more gambling addict treatment programs as well. So that's really where Montana needs the most work.”

Other ranking for Montana include:

6th in Casinos per Capita, 7th in percentage of Adults with Gambling Disorders, 26th in  Gambling-Related Arrests per Capita, and 8th in the country for Legality of Sports Gambling.

If you need assistance with a gambling addiction call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.gamtalk.org. 

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