Signs of a Sports Betting Problem

Jun 21, 2023

Sports betting can be an exciting and entertaining activity for many people, but for some, it can lead to addiction. Problem gambling and sports betting can lead to negative consequences on someone's mental health, financial stability, and social life. While some individuals may have a difficult time gauging their own behavior, there are common signs that could indicate that someone is struggling with a sports betting addiction.

What is sports betting? How has it changed from history to the present day?

Sports betting is a type of gambling and event wagering where individuals place bets on the outcome of a sporting event. The concept has been around for centuries, with the ancient Greeks and Romans known for placing bets on gladiatorial fights and chariot races.

Today, sports betting has evolved to cover a wide range of sports including football, basketball, baseball, cricket, tennis and horse racing. If there’s a sporting match being played, somebody may be betting on it. With the rise of online betting platforms, sports betting has become even more accessible to individuals across the world. These platforms also make it easier than ever to start placing bets and opening up the door for a potential gambling problem.

Sports betting facts and figures

Sports betting has become a popular part of modern culture, with more individuals than ever before placing wagers on sports events. In 2022 American sports betting revenue was $7.5 billion dollars and is expected to reach over $10 billion in 2028. And this only accounts for legal gambling. Sports gambling can also take place with friends or bookies, these numbers are harder to track. However, it is safe to say that more and more people are gambling on sports. 

In the United States, the legal landscape of sports betting has been changing rapidly in recent years. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that a federal ban on sports betting was unconstitutional, paving the way for individual states to legalize and regulate the practice. More than half the states in the country have legalized sports betting or are in the process of doing so. 

Today, there are more than 20 sports betting sites and apps that are available in the United States. With these numbers increasing it’s no wonder that sports betting and problem gambling is on the rise. 

Signs and symptoms of sports betting addiction

If you suspect a friend or loved one has a sports betting or gambling problem there are some signs to look out for. 

Common signs of sports betting addiction to be aware of:

  • Increased frequency and amount of bets: If an individual begins to bet on sports more frequently and starts to increase the amount of money they are betting, this could be a sign of addiction.

  • Borrowing money: Often an individual with a gambling problem will begin to borrow money to fund their activities. 

  • Inability to stop or cut back: If an individual has tried to stop or cut back on their sports betting but finds themselves unable to do so, this could be a sign of addiction.

  • Neglecting other responsibilities: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may neglect other responsibilities such as work, school, or family obligations in order to place bets.

  • Use of credit cards: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may use credit cards to finance their bets, leading to financial problems.

  • Loss of interest in other activities: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may lose interest in other activities they once enjoyed, instead choosing to spend all their time and money on placing bets.

  • Tendency to chase losses: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may continue to place bets in order to try to recoup losses from previous bets.

  • Hiding or lying about betting activity: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may feel the need to hide or lie about their betting activity from others, feeling ashamed or embarrassed by their behavior.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help. There are resources available, such as Gamblers Anonymous and treatment programs specializing in sports betting treatment and help, that can provide support and guidance for individuals struggling with sports betting addiction. Remember, recognizing and addressing the issue early on can prevent it from escalating and causing further harm.

What Sports Bettors and Online Gamblers Need to Be Aware Of:

Sports betting, like any other form of gambling, can be dangerous and addictive. While it can be a form of entertainment for some, it can quickly spiral out of control for others. Here are some of the dangers of sports betting:

  • Addiction: Sports betting can lead to addiction, just like other forms of gambling. When an individual becomes addicted to sports betting, it can have a negative impact on their mental and physical health, as well as their relationships and finances.

  • Financial problems: An individual who is addicted to sports betting may start to spend increasingly large amounts of money on their bets, leading to financial problems. This can lead to debt, bankruptcy, and other financial difficulties.

  • Mental health issues: Addiction to sports betting can also lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress. The constant worry and obsession over winning bets can take a toll on an individual's mental health.

  • Loss of control: When an individual becomes addicted to sports betting, they can lose control over their behavior. They may find themselves placing bets even when they cannot afford it, neglecting other responsibilities, and taking risks that they would not normally take.

  • Illegal activities: Addiction to sports betting can also lead to illegal activities such as fraud and embezzlement. Some individuals may resort to stealing money or engaging in other criminal activities in order to finance their betting habits.

Financial Problems May Occur:

Individuals who are participating in sports betting need to be aware of financial issues. Sports betting can be addictive, and many individuals struggle with the compulsion to keep betting, even when they can no longer afford to do so (leading to negative effects on their relationships and life). Addiction to sports betting can lead to significant financial problems, including debt, bankruptcy, and loss of assets such as homes and cars. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, millions of Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction with online sports betting being one of the most widespread gambling activities.

Be Aware of Potential Legal Issues:

If an individual is actively sports betting beyond their financial means, they need to be aware of what legal issues can arise. In certain US states, sports betting is illegal or heavily regulated. Individuals who engage in online sports betting may face legal consequences such as fines or jail time. The American Gaming Association (AGA) confirms this risk, noting that Americans illegally gamble more than half a trillion dollars every year. Illegal sports betting can also lead to theft and other criminal activities, as individuals resort to violence to get money to sports bet online with or collect debts. Additionally, unregulated sports betting can be a breeding ground for fraud and scams. Individuals with sports betting problems may be cheated out of their money or have their personal information stolen.

Potential Psychological Problems Can Emerge:

Sports betting (particularly online sports betting that anonymizes the individual placing the wager) can also lead to behavioral health issues including obsession and risk-taking behaviors. Individuals who become obsessed with sports betting may spend an excessive amount of time and money on it, neglecting other areas of their life such as work, family, and social relationships. Risk-taking behaviors associated with sports betting can also lead to poor financial and emotional decision-making, which can have negative consequences in other areas of life.

How to get help for a sports betting addiction

Sports betting addiction is a serious issue that can lead to significant problems for individuals, such as financial difficulties, mental health issues, and even illegal activities. If you or someone you know is struggling with a sports betting addiction, it's important to seek help.

The first step in getting help is to acknowledge that there is a problem. It's common for individuals to deny that they have an addiction, but accepting the reality of the situation is the first step towards recovery.

Professional treatment is available for those who need support in stopping sports betting. Counseling and therapy can help individuals identify the root causes of their addiction and develop strategies to overcome it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common approach used in treating gambling addiction, as it focuses on changing thought patterns and behaviors.

References:




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