Financial advisors can sometimes save their clients who have gambling problems from themselves, says Mark Kemp, president and CEO of Kemp Harvest Financial Group, a financial and retirement services firm in Harleysville, Pa.
Gambling disorders, as they are called, affect about 2 percent of the population, according to the Mayo Clinic. All states have some problem gamblers but some states have more than others, says WalletHub, a financial resources and research organization that recently studied the situation.
Anywhere problem gamblers exist, financial advisors can be on the lookout for some key factors to try to protect their clients’ money, Kemp says.
“Look at the tax returns and see if gambling losses are listed. Watch clients who take loans agains--or disbursements from--their retirement savings. Look for growing credit card debt,” Kemp says.
“For clients who admit they have a problem, put some of their money in an irrevocable trust, buy an immediate annuity or put some of the assets in the spouse’s name so the gambler cannot touch it,” Kemp advises. His firm has dealt with several gamblers and in two cases the clients thanked him for saving them from eventual bankruptcy. “In other cases, it is the spouse who is grateful there is some money left after the gambler dies.”
Financial advisors in every state may have clients with gambling problems, but in some states the chances are much greater than in others, according to WalletHub’s 2016’s Most Gambling Addicted States.
WalletHub looked at a number of factors, such as the presence of illegal gambling operations, lottery sales per capita and the percentage of people with gambling disorders, to determine where the problem is the worst. Following are the 10 states with the worst gambling problems in reverse order and a reason each earned a spot on the list. The entire study can be found here.
No. 10 North Dakota
North Dakota has the second most casinos per capita.