A just-released study estimates nearly 1.8 million Iowans gambled last year. Researchers found nine percent more Iowa adults gambled in 2013, compared to 2011. Eric Preuss of the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Gambling Treatment and Prevention program has reviewed the data.

“People are frequenting the casinos and using the Iowa Lottery maybe more than what they have in the past,” Preuss says, “which may be a sign that things are getting better, economically, in Iowa.”

The survey found nearly 78 percent of Iowans had gambled at least once during 2013. Most said they did it for fun or entertainment, but researchers concluded about 369-thousand Iowans could be “at risk” of becoming “problem” gamblers. Preuss says those are Iowans who exhibit at least one of the symptoms of an addiction.

“Thinking a lot about gambling, that they’re gambling larger and larger amounts of money. They may even have failed attempts to cut back on their gambling. They may become restless or irritable when they stop gambling,” Preuss says. “There may be a sense that they’re gambling to escape problems, personal things that might be going on with the family or with work.”

Other warning signs include going back to a casino to try to win back what they’ve lost or lying to family and friends to hide gambling losses.

The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Northern Iowa. It found the most popular form of gambling in Iowa was a lottery ticket.  Click here to read the full report (Gambling Attitudes & Behaviors: A 2013 Survey of Adult Iowans).