While legalized gambling has expanded over the past 20 years in Oregon, so too have the efforts to mitigate gambling related harm with publically funded treatment and prevention efforts, along with responsible gambling messaging, programs and policy.
Gamblers in Oregon mirror the demographics of the state as a whole, with adults of all ages, races, educational backgrounds, and income levels participating in some form of legal gambling. Specific demographics vary depending on the gambling activity. Gambling operators in Oregon and nationwide are challenged with becoming relevant to Millennials and this is reflected in the demographics.
The Oregon Council on Problem Gambling conducted adult prevalence studies in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2015. Prevalence rates have remained largely consistent over time, despite the significant expansion of gambling opportunities nationally and in Oregon. This suggests that harm minimization and prevention efforts are having an impact.
Based on the 2015 Oregon Adult Gambling Behaviors Survey, 43.4% of adult Oregonians don’t gamble, 48.6% gamble but do not experience gambling related problems, and 8% experience problems along the continuum ranging from low to severe. In Oregon, it is estimated that 2.6% of the adult population experiences moderate or serious problems with gambling. Those who do gamble can move in and out of problematic gambling periods throughout their gambling life.
Oregon provides free prevention and treatment services across the continuum of problem gambling. Treatment is available for both gamblers and their families. One percent of Oregon Lottery revenues are transferred from lottery proceeds to fund these services. The Oregon Health Authority administers the funds that provides approximately $5 million annually for treatment and prevention programs and services.
Additionally, the Oregon Lottery spends approximately $3 million annually to promote responsible gambling practices and to create awareness of the free confidential treatment resources that are available for all Oregonians.