A report released by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) concludes that while Iowa’s percentage of pathological gambling remains low (about one percent), the percentage of Iowans who are at risk for developing a gambling problem is high (13.1 percent). Of the 1,700 Iowans interviewed for Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors: A 2011 Survey of Adult Iowans, 91 percent reported having gambled ever in their lives, and 69 percent reported gambling in the past 12 months.

“While this survey shows most Iowans say they gamble for entertainment or fun (80 percent), it’s clear the activity isn’t always perceived as being harmless by those around the gambler,” said Mark Vander Linden, program manager of the IDPH Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention. “Although the percentage of pathological gambling is low, more than one in five adult Iowans (22 percent) report having been negatively affected by the gambling behaviors of family members, friends, or others they know.” Of the 13 percent of Iowans who report one or more symptoms of problem gambling in the past 12 months, 18 percent said they want to reduce or quit gambling.

“They haven’t met that threshold for pathological gambling, but they do have some type of symptom that would indicate that they are at risk,” Vander Linden told Radio Iowa. He said those risk signs are things like feeling that they are gambling more than they had wanted to or that they regret the gambling experiences they have had.

According to the report, men prefer table games at casinos, followed by card games not at casinos and then lotteries. For women, slot machines were the favorite, followed by lottery scratch tickets and pull tabs, and then other lottery number games. Overall the favorite gambling choice for Iowans was slot machines at 19%, followed by lottery games at 12%.