Sports Betting and Online Gambling Are A Volatile Mix

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest betting events of the year, but also contributes to a significant public health problem. Some of the estimated 22 million Americans who will wager more than $6 billion dollars on the game are in the desperate grip of a severe gambling problem. Indeed, sports bettors are at least twice as likely to have gambling problems, according to a new NCPG analysis of more than 140 separate studies of sports betting and gambling addiction. This means that approximately 4% of those 22 million gamblers, or about 880,000 individuals:

  • are unable to set and stick to a limit of time and money spent gambling
  • bet to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
  • view gambling as a good means of making money

“Each is a potential warning sign of a gambling problem or challenge to recovery,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director. “These indicators also point to responsible gambling strategies, which are important steps to take for all people who engage in gambling activities.” These steps include:

  • set limits of time and money spent gambling
  • seek help to manage negative feelings
  • view gambling as an activity with long-term losses, due to house advantage and chance

If gambling becomes a problem, NCPG urges people who gamble, as well as their loved ones, to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.

For a copy of the Executive Summary or the full report of the Review of Sports Wagering and Gambling Addiction, please go to www.ncpgambling.org/safer-sports-betting.