Group playing the tables at a casino, one man wearing Elvis style sunglasses, Las Vegas, USA, 2000s.
PYMCA—Getty Images/UIG
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
May 9, 2016

Whenever legalizing gambling is discussed, it becomes a seriously contentious issue, for obvious reasons—fun and games can quickly spiral out of control into addiction. Gambling may not be legal in many states, but its addiction is a fairly sizable and expensive problem that affects over 2% of the population and had a total social cost of $7 billion in 2013, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Certain states, however, have it worse than others.

According to a recent WalletHub analysis — which compared 13 metrics that compared “gambling friendliness” with “gambling problem and treatment” — Nevada, home to Las Vegas, was in fact the worst state in the union for gambling addiction. It was the second most gambling-friendly place and ranked number 12 for gambling problems.

Here is WalletHub’s full ranking of all 50 states.

Overall Rank
(1 = Most Addicted)
State Total Score ‘Gambling-Friendliness’ Rank ‘Gambling Problem & Treatment’ Rank
1 Nevada 57.00 2 12
2 South Dakota 56.62 1 28
3 Mississippi 48.94 13 1
4 Montana 48.75 3 38
5 Oklahoma 46.70 4 31
6 West Virginia 45.15 7 11
7 New Jersey 44.66 9 10
8 Oregon 43.86 5 38
9 Delaware 40.84 6 36
10 North Dakota 38.96 8 37
11 Louisiana 37.76 12 14
12 Idaho 37.51 11 19
13 Maryland 36.56 24 5
14 Tennessee 36.48 25 4
15 Wyoming 34.67 16 18
16 Rhode Island 34.63 15 23
17 Ohio 33.08 17 25
18 South Carolina 32.88 28 7
19 Colorado 32.23 14 34
20 Connecticut 31.69 19 27
21 Illinois 31.24 41 3
22 New Mexico 31.21 10 49
23 Virginia 31.13 20 29
24 Pennsylvania 30.98 21 30
25 Massachusetts 30.98 18 32
26 New Hampshire 30.88 30 9
27 Hawaii 30.55 49 2
28 California 28.84 22 33
29 Missouri 27.93 44 6
30 Georgia 27.16 33 15
31 Arkansas 26.91 32 17
32 Minnesota 26.80 36 13
33 New York 26.76 23 46
34 Iowa 26.03 26 42
35 Michigan 25.53 27 41
36 Texas 25.05 47 8
37 Vermont 23.07 40 19
38 Washington 22.45 34 43
39 Maine 22.19 43 24
40 Florida 22.00 35 44
41 North Carolina 21.55 46 16
42 Alaska 20.92 45 19
43 Kentucky 20.63 31 48
44 Wisconsin 20.32 39 35
45 Indiana 19.59 29 50
46 Kansas 19.40 38 45
47 Arizona 19.16 37 47
48 Alabama 19.13 42 38
49 Nebraska 18.60 48 26
50 Utah 18.18 49 19

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