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It is now legal to bet on sports in over thirty U.S. states, and once a so-called vice like sports gambling is legalized, regulated, and taxed, the potential to abuse it increases for some people, so it becomes important to talk about how those addictions can be managed.
The polite term for being addicted to betting is ‘problem gambling,’ and it encompasses any behavior patterns related to wagering that negatively affect a person’s mental health, family, and livelihood, an addiction that has ruined lives and careers and in some cases resulted in suicide.
Bill Pascrell is a partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group and a trustee for Entain Foundation U.S., a responsible gambling (RG) foundation that invests millions in education, research, and promotion of RG throughout the country, and he understands the need to address this issue.
According to Pascrell, there are a few basic ways a bettor can gamble more responsibly:
Gamblers can set clear spending limits, which can be done on all major platforms to ensure they do not bet beyond their means. Sports bettors can also make sure of session timers, which automatically limit the amount of time that a gambler can spend on the platform.
Many sportsbook apps allow customers to set their own limits, a solid precaution to prevent rash decisions in the heat of a gambling moment, and staying aware of the amount of time spent betting can help limit out-of-control moments for anyone concerned they might have a problem.
Other suggestions include understanding the odds and the house edge of the wagers you are making and being clear on your own risk tolerance, never borrowing money to gamble, being sure to balance that time with other activities, and learning to be okay with the times you lose.
There are even ways to determine if you have a problem.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, millions of American bettors have spent billions of dollars gambling on sports in a growing number of states, and of those, about five million are problem gamblers, according to the website Responsibleplay.org.
New bettors who are concerned that they might fall into that category are encouraged to take one of the online quizzes available that help gamblers get a clearer idea of their relationship with betting, with one such quiz offered by the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Pascrell’s group – the Entain Foundation U.S – offers its own version of that online questionnaire and explains how it works to address the problem gambling issue:
I always recommend that new sports bettors download Gamble Responsibly America, a unique resource that allows gamblers to take a self-assessment quiz, track their playing choices, and utilize limiting tools to help control their activities.
A big challenge in tackling any addiction is admitting it’s become a problem, and there are ways to handle those issues once it reaches that level.
There comes a time during the course of any addiction where it becomes impossible to stop and outside help becomes necessary, and that is a reality that Pascrell addresses:
I would note that gamblers determined to quit can make use of online and in-person 12-step recovery meetings and self-exclusion programs.
Of course, American gamblers are adults and are responsible for their own choices, but now that sports betting is legal in so many states and casinos are everywhere, it makes good sense for gambling operators to help address problem gambling on their own.
So far sportsbooks and betting apps are stepping up and doing just that, an attempt to self-regulate so that other larger entities won’t have to step in and force them to deal with those issues, a wise path to take if sports gambling expects to stay here in the U.S. for long.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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