The Economic Cost of Gambling Addiction in NJ

While gambling is often viewed as a form of harmless entertainment, it can morph into a compulsive and damaging practice known as gambling addiction. The negative economic implications of gambling addiction are substantial, particularly for the state of New Jersey (NJ), where gambling is a major industry. This article explores how gambling addiction affects not just the individual involved, but also their family and the NJ economy at large.

Economic Impact of Individual Gambling Addiction

When an individual succumbs to gambling addiction, the economic costs can be immense. These personal financial burdens often include debt, bankruptcy, lost productivity at work, and increased healthcare costs due to the psychological and physical health issues associated with compulsive gambling.

Moreover, addicted gamblers often pursue additional income through illegal means, leading to increased crime rates. This, in turn, poses an extra economic burden on the state’s criminal justice system.

The Ripple Effect on Family and Society

The economic costs of gambling addiction extend beyond the individual to involve familial and societal repercussions. The repercussions to the families can be significant and multifaceted.

  1. Family finances: Families often face severe financial strain as resources are depleted to pay off gambling debts.
  2. Increased healthcare costs: Family members, emotionally stressed due to the gambling issue, often need healthcare services, hence escalating the family’s medical expenses.
  3. Social Services: Families may also need to seek social services or public assistance, putting added pressure on these resources.
  4. Domestic issues: Gambling addiction tends to escalate domestic strife, potentially leading to separation or divorce, child neglect, or other family crises. This leads to cost implications for courts, child services, and other related agencies.

Impact on the NJ Economy

New Jersey, with its thriving gambling industry, faces significant economic drag from gambling addiction. Every addicted gambler in the state represents an economic liability, accumulating substantial debt and often turning to public services for help. The healthcare services, law enforcement, judicial system, and public assistance programs in NJ bear this extra cost.

State Funding for Gambling Addiction Recovery

State funds are used to establish and maintain support services and treatments for individuals suffering from gambling addiction. These include individual counseling and family therapy sessions which are crucial in addressing and treating this issue. The cost of these treatments can be a significant expenditure for the state’s budget.


What is the cost of gambling addiction treatment?

The cost of treatment varies depending on various factors, such as the type of treatment, the length of the program, and the location of the facility. The state does provide some funding for treatment, but individuals are often responsible for a portion of these costs.

How can families recover financially from gambling addiction?

Recovering financially from a gambling addiction can be a long process, but with proper budgeting, debt management strategies, and counseling services, it is viable.


In conclusion, gambling addiction in New Jersey not only wreaks havoc on the lives of those directly affected, but it also strains families, businesses, and the state economy. The associated costs are immense and varied, making it a public health issue that warrants serious attention. By understanding the full financial impact, we can better advocate for ample state funding for effective treatments, such as individual counseling and family therapy, and promote responsible gambling behaviors to ultimately reduce the economic cost of gambling addiction.