June 26, 2008 14:15 ET

Americans Cast “Unhealthy” Attitude Toward Gambling Addiction

Survey Reveals Americans Divided On Whether Gambling Addiction Is Disease Or Moral Weakness

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, News Editor LONG BEACH/CA--(Marketwire - June 26, 2008) - More than four out of every five Americans (83%) believe that "moral weakness" plays a part in the development of a gambling addiction, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

The study found that a third (32%) of the adults surveyed believed that compulsive gambling was primarily a personal or moral weakness, while half (51%) believe it to be a combination of weakness and disease. A slim minority (13%) felt it primarily a disease. The study also found that a significant majority (68%) believe controlling compulsive gambling is mostly a matter of willpower.

"Those who work with problem gamblers, or those who have experienced it first-hand, know that it cannot simply be attributed to moral weakness," says Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director. "Research tells us that problem gambling is deeply rooted in both a person's biology and their life experience. It's not that those with a gambling addiction are weak-willed or bad people."

However, fewer than 50% of those surveyed believe that the majority of people who receive treatment for pathological gambling achieve lifelong recovery. "The evidence is clear that treatment works," says Don Feeney, Communications Committee Chair for the NCPG. "But those with a gambling problem need encouragement from their family and friends to seek it out. They will not get this encouragement if they are viewed as morally weak or if they don't believe the treatment will be successful."

Other highlights of the study include:

83% of adults believe it is important for parents to discuss the risks of gambling with their children.

Fewer than half (45%) think that services to treat problem gambling are available in their community; 35% do not believe they are available in their community, while another 20% are not sure.

78% believe that compulsive gambling is an addiction similar to drugs and alcohol.

Paul Lauzon, Senior Vice President at Ipsos Reid said he was not surprised by the findings. "In other surveys where we've asked about gambling addiction issues, we've often seen people show somewhat patronizing attitudes. This would explain the substantial agreement that gambling problems are due to personal or moral weaknesses."

Complete findings of the study are to be released today at the 22nd National Conference on Problem Gambling in Long Beach, California. Whyte notes that the final day of the conference is devoted to recovery from problem gambling. "There are so many inspiring stories of people who have achieved recovery," he adds. "If you or a friend or a loved one is dealing with this disorder, know that you are not the only one. Know that recovery is not an impossible dream. Know there is hope."

The full release is available at: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=3972

All Ipsos News Releases are available online at: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/ IN: ENTERTAINMENT, SOCIAL

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