Wyomingites for a Better Economy Today and Tomorrow
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 Study Says Gambling Hurts Many

Hispanics are majority of those estimated to have serious gambling problems

A new study by the state Health Department and the University of New Mexico found significant numbers of New Mexicans with problems caused by gambling. More than a fifth of New Mexicans who have gambled in the past year, - an estimated 177,000 people reported having gambling problems. More than 70 percent of those estimated to have serious trouble with gambling are Hispanics. Hispanic women reported more serious gambling problems than any other ethnic group, the study showed. In addition, serious gambling problems are more prevalent among those who began gambling before the age of 21, and among low-income groups. "The level and severity of problems related to gambling suggests that actions are needed both to prevent these problems-and to attempt to mitigate.

The study shows two-thirds of all New Mexicans reported gambling during the past year. Slot machines, casino gambling and the lottery were favorite activities. The highest expenditures were for casino gambling -gamblers reported median spending was $50 a month at casinos - and at racetracks where the median spending was $40 a month.

Among other findings: An estimated 44 percent of those who experienced serious problems because of gambling in the past year were Hispanic females, and 27 percent were Hispanic males. Non-Hispanic whites, both males and females, accounted for an estimated 23 percent of them," the study concluded.

The study, the first of its kind, is based on a telephone survey of 1,279 people in all New Mexico counties. People who responded to the survey were asked for basic information such as their age, sex, race, education and income level, and whether they were married or employed. They then were asked questions about how often they gambled, what games they preferred and how much they spent. They also were questioned about problems in their personal, family, work or social life related to gambling.