Gambling is part of lives, from lottery tickets and casinos to raffles and sports betting. While sports betting varies state by state, this type of gambling addiction isn’t restrained by state borders. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), Americans have wagered nearly $26 billion on sporting events since May 2018. Gaming leaders say growing the legal sports betting market is a priority for the industry. While that sounds like fun and games, it isn’t so positive for those with gambling addiction, including sports betting problems.
Sports Betting Problems
Sports fans, from professional and collegiate levels, including football, basketball, baseball, and more, are known for their loyalty to their teams. CNBC reports research has shown people who identify as sports fans have higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of loneliness and tend to be more satisfied with their lives compared to those who aren’t interested in sports. Gambling proponents argue the activity adds to that excitement and entertainment value, all while creating economic benefits.
On the other hand, opponents point to the social costs of gambling, like emotional stress and relationship problems. The National Council on Problem Gambling says they analyzed more than 140 separate studies on sports betting and gambling addiction and found that “sports bettors are at least twice as likely to have gambling problems.”
Expanding sports wagering availability will likely increase its acceptance, followed by more participation which may lead to more gambling problems, according to advocates of programs and resources to help those affected by problem gambling. Online technology has added to that accessibility. Today, depending on state regulations, bettors can place sports wagers online or directly on their mobile devices.
Warning Signs of a Problem Gambling
The American Psychiatric Association defines a gambling disorder, also called gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, as involving repeated problematic gambling behavior that causes significant problems or distress. Some warning signs or red flags provided by the Nebraska Commission on Problem Gambling (NCPG) include:
- You cannot stop gambling, even when it’s hurting you
- Gambling is all you think about
- You bet money you cannot afford to lose
- Gambling is the main way you escape
- You bet other people’s money
- You steal to bet
- Asking others to bail you out when you gambled the money away
- Lying about the time and amounts of money you spend gambling
- Gambling more after a loss to win back the loss
- Gambling is killing your relationships
Getting Help for Sports Betting Problems
“I need to talk to someone about my gambling problem,” is the most simple way to start a conversation. Most importantly, the state of Nebraska has a gamblers assistance program with a 24/7 hotline at 1-833-BetOver (238-6837). Counseling services for problem gamblers and their families are also part of the program. You may also find help in local support groups.
Gambling Addiction Counseling in Omaha, NE
Are you in need of gambling addiction counseling in Omaha? Contact Blue Sky Counseling today.
Blue Sky Counseling Omaha
I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues such as behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to explore pathological gambling addiction treatment options today. Blue Sky Counseling also offers alcohol counseling in Omaha.