Washington, DC The increased amount of sports betting surrounding “March Madness” makes the month a good time to have the conversation about problem gambling with friends, partners, and children, says the National Council on Problem Gambling.
According to the American Gaming Association an estimated 70 million Americans will fill out brackets this year and about $9 billion will be wagered on the March Madness tournament.
“For some gamblers ‘March Madness’ truly describes their incredibly strong, persistent urges to gamble regardless of the consequences. Problem gamblers report feeling trapped during the tournament, bombarded by commercials and conversations about selections, sleeper teams and of course the point spread” says Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. “If you or someone you know shows some of the signs below, have the conversation.”
While gambling can be an entertaining pastime for many people, for some it can quickly become an overwhelming disorder. Warning signs include: preoccupation with betting, lying about how much money has been bet, feeling anxious or sleepless due to betting activity, or borrowing money to keep betting. Even though gambling can be a serious addiction, treatment is available and works.
Gambling is all around us and social pressure to gamble can be strong. Sports betting is a particularly easy way for someone to be introduced to gambling. Office pools and bracket competitions happen in the workplace, at schools and among friends and can make people feel like part of a team. Those who choose to bet should watch for the warning signs and take steps to prevent problems, including setting a limit of time and money.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s gambling, have the conversation about problem gambling. To contact our national helpline, call or text 800.522.4700 and chat at www.ncpgambling.org/chat. We understand the problem and we can help.
NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and leads state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling. Our vision is to improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling.
View a printable version of this release, here.