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Dangers of Having Sports Betting at Your Fingertips
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Dangers of Having Sports Betting at Your Fingertips

by Kaidi AloupisJune 24, 2023

Since the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that opened the door for legal sports betting, the industry has experienced tremendous growth and shows no signs of slowing down. 

With the creation of online sportsbooks and widespread celebrity endorsements, more than half of American adults now live in states with a legal sports betting market. This has resulted in record-breaking revenues for betting companies and increased tax revenue for states, with the industry generating $3 billion in 2021 alone. 

However, this rapid expansion has also led to a rise in serious gambling addictions. 

Demographics at Risk

Statistics from 2021 indicate a significant increase in calls, texts, and online chats to gambling hotlines, with a 43 percent rise in calls, a 59 percent increase in texts, and an 84 percent surge in online chats. 

Among the demographics affected, individuals in their twenties have shown the fastest growth rate and are particularly susceptible to developing gambling addictions due to factors such as easy access and constant advertising. 

Young men, in particular, are the primary target audience for sports betting companies and are at a higher risk of developing gambling addictions. Additionally, individuals under the age of 25 possess underdeveloped brains, which makes them more vulnerable to addiction. 

Factors in Devloping an Addiction

While sports betting may be an enjoyable activity for most people, it can have effects similar to those of cigarettes or alcohol, as it activates the brain’s reward system and increases dopamine secretion. 

A study comparing sports betting to non-sports betting found a stronger link between sports betting and gambling problems, as well as cognitive distortions such as the illusion of control, probability control, and interpretive control. 

Sportsbooks often exploit these emotions and even promote the idea that picking winners is based on skill rather than luck. 

Certain characteristics can make individuals more prone to developing addictions, such as impulsive tendencies and manic behavior, which may be associated with ADHD. 

Men in their twenties may inititally engage in gambling for recreational purposes with friends but later find it provides them with a sense of freedom or control and use it to escape from reality, leading to a cycle of dependence.

Steps Companies Should Take

In light of these concerning trends, it is crucial for society to address the issue of gambling addiction and implement measures to prevent harmful consequences. 

This could include increased education and awareness campaigns, stricter regulations on advertising and promotions by sports betting companies, enhanced support services for individuals wanting to seek help, and targeted interventions for at-risk demographics. 

By prioritizing responsible gambling practices, we canlimit the negative impacts of the industry’s growth and ensure the well being of individuals affected by a gambling addiction. 

Conclusion

Furthermore, it is essential for sports betting companies and regulatory bodies to take responsibilty for their role in promoting responsible gambling. 

Implementing measures such as age verification protocols, setting deposit limits, and providing self exclusion options can help prevent excessive gambling and protect vulnerable individuals. 

Additionally, offering comprehensive education about the risks of gambling and providing resources for seeking help can empower individuals to make informed decisions and seek assistance when needed. 

By fostering a culture of responsible gambling, the industry can strike a balance between profit and social responsibility, safeguarding the well being of its customers and minimizing the negative impact of gambling addictions.

Read more about sports betting.

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About The Author
Kaidi Aloupis