Washington, DC – This Sunday, people across the country will tune in to watch Super Bowl LVI, and more than 31 million of them plan to place a sports wager. PlayUSA estimates that legal online and in-person Super Bowl wagers this year will total $1 billion. As of February 2022, the unprecedented expansion of gambling in the last three years means that 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently offer some form of legal sports betting.
The second National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE 2.0), a groundbreaking survey created by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in 2018, has identified a significant increase in problematic gambling activity from 2018 to 2021. Problematic play was found to be especially prevalent among two at-risk groups: sports bettors including those who play daily fantasy sports, and younger gamblers (ages 18 to 44). The study also indicated that almost two-thirds of Americans, or 220 million people, do not know where to get help for a gambling problem.
“The trends we are seeing around sports gambling and problematic play are very concerning. Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG. “Every organization that provides gambling opportunities has a responsibility to develop policies and programs to promote responsible gambling and address problem gambling.
As the ads and the hype ramp up to the Super Bowl, NCPG offers tips for those who choose to gamble on sports, such as how to do so in a way that minimizes risk, and shares resources for those who have been impacted by problem gambling.
For most adults, gambling can be a fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. It is critical to know the risks and have a plan before you begin gambling. Whether it’s your first bet or you’ve been gambling for years, before you wager, consider the following tips from ResponsiblePlay.org to help you keep gambling fun:
Know the Game: Make sure you understand the odds and house edge. Over the long run, the house always wins.
Make Your Plan: Know how much you’re willing to lose and how long you want to play – set limits of time and money.
Risk: Know and respect your tolerance for risk.
Money: Never borrow money to gamble. Don’t gamble money you can’t afford to lose.
Team Up: Consider teaming up with a friend to help each other stick to your personal betting plan.
Time: Set a timer on your phone to keep track of time spent betting.
Balance: Balance gambling with other activities.
Entertainment: Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and not a way to make money.
Take A Break: When gambling is no longer fun, take a break.
Expect to Lose: Hope to win but expect to lose. Remember, you’re playing to have a good time – never chase your losses.
Problem gambling, or gambling addiction, includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The symptoms include increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by the continuation of gambling behavior despite negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. If you or someone you care about shows signs of a gambling problem, help is available.
The National Problem Gambling Helpline (call or text 1-800-522-4700; ncpgambling.org/chat) serves as a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. Help is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential. The National Problem Gambling Helpline also includes text and chat services. These features enable those who are gambling online or on their mobile phone to access help the same way they play. One call, text, or chat will get you to problem gambling help anywhere in the U.S.
Despite the challenges surrounding the expansion of legalized sports betting, one positive trend has emerged as an increasing number of sportsbook operators, gambling companies and the NFL itself invest in promoting responsible gambling resources. A growing number of Americans recall advertising related to responsible gambling in the past year and there have already been over 250,000 visitors to ResponsiblePlay.org.
NCPG will continue to work to reduce the risk of gambling problems associated with sports betting. Our goal is to develop innovative responsible gambling partnerships and comprehensive problem gambling programs by building on our five decades of experience, new research and cutting-edge technology to increase protective aspects and reduce risk factors for gambling addiction.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
The National Council on Problem Gambling is neutral on legalized gambling. Based in Washington DC, NCPG is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.
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February 10, 2022