Super Bowl Gambling Predicted to Near $50 Billion in Bets – Will You Lose to Problem Gambling?

The upcoming Super Bowl is expected to generate $4.7 billion in bets, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The vast majority of those wagers will be illegal.

It’s estimated a whopping 97% of bets placed on the big game will take place illegally in office pools, between friends, and through offshore gambling operations, according to the AGA. Check out its Super Bowl gambling infographic:


Many people placing bets will be able to do so without harming themselves or inflicting negative consequences on friends or family. However, for some, sports betting can lead to problem gambling, a recognized condition in which a person can no longer make reasonable decisions about wagering. Gambling in at-risk people triggers some of the same brain regions as in those who abuse substances.

Problem gamblers may:

  • Gamble away paychecks;
  • Become unable to pay for living expenses, like rent, food, or prescriptions;
  • Call in sick or tardy in order to gamble;
  • Borrow, steal, or commit crimes like fraud to fund their behavior;
  • Become more vulnerable to alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide.
Don’t let sports betting bring you or a loved one down.

If wagering on the Super Bowl or other sporting events is causing anxiety or if it’s causing problems in your relationships, seek help. Gambling addiction is treatable, often with a combination of talk therapy, self-help groups, and lifestyle changes.

The Lancaster and Lebanon areas offer a number of counselors trained specifically to work with those addicted to gambling. See our list of Treatment Providers or contact Compass Mark for confidential guidance. You can also assess your risk (or that of a loved one) by taking the simple gambling assessment quiz on our home page.

To learn more about sports gambling and addiction, check out:

Tips to Resist the Urge to Gamble on the Super Bowl
Gambling Addiction: Taking the Fantasy Out of Fantasy Football
Fantasy Football: Priming Kids for Problem Gambling?


Are You Ready to Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud in Your Biz?

An Oregon bookkeeper recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from her employers–money she then used to gamble.

The woman was sentenced to five years in prison, according to OregonLive. The theft started during her first month of employment and continued for about a year. She had prior theft convictions listed under a different last name.

How Can Employers Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud?

Gambling addiction is a condition with roots in biology. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status. People who struggle with the disorder need professional treatment from counselors trained to work with this addiction.

Employers can take action to protect their businesses by enacting safeguards to prevent gambling-related fraud or at least catch it before it does significant damage. Here’s how to protect your bottom line:

Never give one employee sole charge of the company finances.

It can be easier to steal when an addicted gambler knows that no one is checking the books. Always use at least two people to handle company finances. If you can only afford to hire one person, conduct regular, unannounced internal audits to make sure the books are in order.

Divide check writing and check signing powers.

Another way to reduce gambling-related fraud risk is to assign one person the task of writing the checks and another the task of signing them. This checks-and-balance system may prevent fraud or catch it early.

Learn to recognize problem gambling warning signs.

If you see an employee exhibiting these warning signs, refer him or her to human resources or an employee assistance program (EAP):

  • Asking for payday advances;
  • Asking for pay in lieu of vacation time or sick days;
  • Frequently organizing office pools;
  • Unusual insistence on taking work home;
  • Increasing absences or tardiness;
  • Sudden lifestyle changes, such as buying pricey cars or taking expensive vacations;
  • Arguing with coworkers, friends, or family about money;
  • Borrowing money from coworkers.

For prevention resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.


The Holiday Gifts You Shouldn’t Give to Your Kiddos: Problem Gambling Prevention

Got your holiday shopping wrapped up yet? (Pun intended!) Well, if you’re still hunting down presents for your younglings, there are a few ideas you may want to avoid: gambling-related toys and games.

What harm can gambling toys & games do to kids?

These types of gifts can increase a child’s potential for developing problem gambling, a diagnosable condition that impacts the gambler and their loved ones emotionally, physically, and financially.

Children and teens who begin to gamble at an early age are at higher risk for gambling problems later in life. However, a specific type of game may be putting even more kids at risk: gambling apps. Many kids’ wish lists include tablets or other mobile devices that give them access to games, including those with gambling themes.

Research suggests that youth who play simulated gambling games—those that don’t require actual money to play—are more likely to report gambling problems. Experts believe this is because gambling-type apps reinforce winning behavior without exposing kids to the real-world consequences of losing. Learn more in Simulated Gambling May Be a Gamble for Kids.

If you give tech gifts this year, engage parental controls to ensure your child can’t access gambling apps.

Other holiday gift ideas can reinforce unhealthy gambling behavior, too. Avoid giving kids gifts like:

  • Casino-themed card or board games, such as toy roulette sets;
  • Gambling-themed items, like slot machine piggy banks;
  • Scratch-off lottery cards.

Signs of Problem Gambling in Children & Teens

Now and throughout the year, stay alert for red flags that suggest your child or teen may have a gambling problem. Signs include:

  • Experiences mood swings based on whether they’ve won or lost;
  • Neglects school or work responsibilities to gamble or play gambling-type apps;
  • Begins hanging out with a new set of friends;
  • Steals or lies for money;
  • Sells prized possessions;
  • Shows a sudden interest in sports stats or scores (in those addicted to sports gambling).

A counselor trained to work with problem gamblers can assess and diagnose at-risk or addictive gambling behavior in a child or teenager. Call Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 for confidential guidance or visit Gambling Treatment Resources in Lancaster and Lebanon.


5 Problem Gambling Myths Exposed

When it comes to addiction, what you don’t know can hurt you or a loved one. Learn the top myths about problem gambling so you’re better able to identify a potential problem or help a loved one.

1. Problem gambling suggests bad morals or a lack of willpower.

False. Excessive gambling behavior is a diagnosable condition, like other addiction-related disorders. It doesn’t discriminate, and it impacts people of any age, gender, or ethnic background. Numerous studies suggest links between compulsive gambling behavior and the brain. For example, those with a weaker neural connection between two specific brain regions are more likely to be risky gamblers. Another study discovered that problem gamblers showed higher activity levels in brain regions linked to rewards.

2. Excessive gambling is a money problem.

False. Problem gambling is a condition related to a range of risk factors, including substance abuse, family history of addiction, and starting to gamble at an early age. Gambling addiction affects healthy decision-making regardless of financial resources or money management skills.

3. To have a gambling problem, the person needs to gamble every day.

False. While some problem gamblers may seem to bet online 24/7 or spend all their time sitting in front of slots, others gamble in intermittent binges. The truth is that gambling becomes a problem any time it impacts the gambler’s relationships, financial situation, and emotional or physical health.

4. A problem gambler will stop gambling if you pay off his or her debt.

False. Paying their gambling debt provides temporary financial relief, however it does nothing to reboot the gambler’s brain so they can start the recovery journey. In reality, paying off the debt can actually drive them deeper into the addiction because they’re prevented from feeling the real-world consequences of their behavior.

5. An elderly person won’t quit gambling.

False. Don’t buy into the belief that a loved one is too “set in their ways” to change. Gambling addiction is treatable at any age. Reach out to a counselor specifically trained to work with problem gamblers. If possible, find a problem gambling counselor who also has experience working with seniors. It is never too late to change. And when the gambler is an older person, it’s critical to find gambling help sooner rather than later.

Take the quiz on our home page to learn whether you or someone you love is at risk for developing problem gambling.

To find gambling addiction treatment or prevention resources in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, contact our team for nonjudgmental guidance. Call 717-299-2831 or fill out our Gambling Help Form.


Signs of Problem Gambling in Kids [Infographic]

Could you identify underage problem gambling in your child, student, or youth group member?

Adolescents have a higher risk for developing problem gambling, which is a diagnosable condition classified with Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). While many factors play a role in the condition’s development, the risk for teens is increased by the higher levels of risk-taking and lower levels of impulse control common in that age group.

Technology makes it easier than ever for kids to access gambling; that accessibility can create a pathway for at-risk kids to develop the condition. Even free games pose a risk. For example, research suggests that teens who play simulated games, like free poker, are more likely to gamble and report gambling problems later in life. Other studies have found that gamblers who play in “free” or “practice” mode place higher bets when wagering with real money later.

Check out the gambling infographic below from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence- Rochester Area to learn the signs of youth gambling.

The infographic lists help resources for the NY area. If you’re an educator or youth group leader in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA who wants to help kids learn to make healthy decisions, contact Compass Mark about We Know BETter. This free gambling awareness and prevention curriculum offers engaging, age-appropriate activities for children in grades 4-8. Call 717-299-2831 for details.

Signs Problem Gambling Teens, Children


Faces of Gambling Addiction: Lanc. Man Finds Recovery (And How You Can Too)

A Lancaster County man recently shared his journey with gambling addiction, a diagnosable condition that endangered his marriage and his well-being. The Lebanon Daily News (LDN) article, written by Daniel Walmer, details the man’s decades-long addiction to gambling.

The man, Harry, recalls that once in the 1960s he became so involved in a card game that he missed his own birthday party–an event for which his sister had arranged to fly him into Cuba, where she was stationed at Guantanamo Bay.

Over time, the behavior escalated, and, by the mid-2000’s, Harry says he was spending as many as 10 to 12 hours a day in casinos.

Jean Gerdes, a problem gambling prevention coordinator with Compass Mark (the parent organization for this blog), said in an interview for the LDN piece that compulsive gamblers experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety, when they stop gambling. The article continues:

Even now, however, people are less likely to be understanding of a gambling addict who says they can’t make a simple bet on a putt at the golf course than an alcoholic who says they can’t take one drink, Gerdes said.

“There’s a lot of shame that goes with it, because we don’t recognize it as a disease,” she said.

As for Harry, he says he realized he needed help for gambling after an emotional breakdown and serious marriage problems. Now he attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings and counsels other people living with addiction.

Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction
  • Lying or acting evasively about gambling behavior;
  • Selling or pawning possessions;
  • Increasingly absent or tardy to work or school;
  • Exhibiting mood swings based on whether they’re winning or losing;
  • Willingness to wager on virtually anything at any time–not just at casinos, racetracks, online betting venues, or sports events.
Problem Gambling Help for Gamblers and Their Loved Ones

Gambling addiction can be treated in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the surrounding areas. Visit our list of Gambling Addiction Treatment Providers.

Help isn’t just for people struggling with the addiction themselves.  If your loved one is a problem gambler, you’ll benefit from therapy too. Like substance addictions, gambling is a family disease that impacts everyone–and not only from a financial standpoint. When you live with or love a gambling-addicted person, you might feel frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt, or other negative emotions that take a toll on your own mental well-being.

Find your own path through a loved one’s compulsive gambling by contacting Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or by using our Help Form. We’ll direct you to resources so you and other family members can learn healthy coping techniques and find hope.


College Gambling: Facts for Parents

The July 4th holiday is only a few weeks behind us and already stores are packing aisles with back-to-college supplies, from bed sheets to notebooks to tech toys. As you prepare your nearly-adult child to head off to the world of higher education, take time to open up a conversation about the dangers of problem gambling.

Fact: 75% of college students gamble.
The campus environment already presents potential dangers to kids, from sexual assault to alcohol to other drugs. Gambling is a risky activity as well. While many Americans can gamble without negative consequences, others develop problem gambling, a diagnosable condition that impacts every aspect of life, including relationships, physical health, substance use, and finances.

Fact: 6% of college students have a life-impacting gambling problem.
This rate is about double that of the general population. Students who struggle at this level also struggle to live their lives. Signs of a gambling problem in college include:

  • Falling grades;
  • Declining class attendance;
  • Failing relationships with family, friends, and significant others;
  • Mood swings related to wins and losses;
  • Increasing debt;
  • Stealing or lying to get money;
  • Pawning or selling possessions;
  • Increased risk of substance use;
  • Increased risk of depression and suicide.

Fact: You can influence how your college-age child makes decisions.
It can be scary to consider that the little boy or girl you seemingly just cradled in your arms is now moving into a world in which you’ll have far less control over the environment. The best tool for success that you can give your child is to start an open and non-confrontational discussion about risky behaviors, including gambling.

  • Find out whether the college has a gambling policy; if it does, discuss it with your adolescent. Gambling may be barred on campus, so make sure you and your child review the school’s policy and talk about potential consequences. Consider also that student athletes, in particular, may be prohibited from gambling at the risk of lost playing time or scholarships.
  • Find out the gambling laws for the state where your child will attend school.
    If your college student is under the state’s legal gambling age, let him or her know that gambling is illegal for them. In PA, the legal gambling age is 21 for casinos and 18 for racetracks.
  • Talk about the financial dangers of gambling.
    It’s likely school-related debt is already at the top of your family’s collective mind. Remind your student that gambling debt can add significantly to what is already a daunting obligation.
  • Have a conversation about drinking and gambling.
    Alcohol lowers inhibitions and reduces the ability to make rational decisions about many things, including wagers. Chat with your college kid about avoiding the supersized physical and emotional hangover that comes from gambling while drinking—there are few worse ways to start the day than to realize you lost $200 last night betting on how many shots a classmate could drink.

For more information about college problem gambling prevention and treatment resources in Central PA, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or fill out our Help Form.


Man Attributes $40 Million Fraud to Gambling [News, Help Resources]

A New York man is alleged to have stolen $40 million from family, friends, and a hedge fund foundation. His lawyers say the man’s actions were driven by a gambling addiction.

Federal prosecutors say Andrew Caspersen, a former Wall Street executive described as “well respected,” ran a Ponzi-type scheme, according to The New York Times. He’s accused of using five fake investment vehicles to fleece investors of money. Caspersen’s victims reportedly include his own family members, who invested more than $3 million with him. He’s alleged to have used the money to trade aggressive options on the stock market, sometimes betting all of his available cash in a single week.

In the article, the man’s attorney said the addiction began with casino and sports betting but later turned into betting on the stock market.  The lawyer said, “He had every intention of paying everyone back. This is a pathological gambling addiction.”

Gambling Addiction Can Develop in Anyone

Compulsive gambling—like other addictions—does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re a grandmother or a Wall Street executive. It doesn’t care about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status. It doesn’t care if the gambler is “well respected.”

How to Know if You or Someone You Care About is Addicted to Gambling

Signs of gambling addiction include:

  • Increasing preoccupation with gambling;
  • Lying or acting evasively when questioned about the behavior;
  • Using money earmarked for specific things (retirement, education, etc.) to gamble;
  • Promising to pay back borrowed money but doesn’t;
  • Missing work or calling in late because of gambling;
  • Increasing use of alcohol or other substances;
  • Increasing calls from debt collectors;
  • Inability or unwillingness to account for paychecks or other income sources.

Take the quiz on our website to learn whether you or a loved one, friend, or employee is at risk for developing this addiction.

Problem Gambling is Treatable

People who struggle with gambling problems can find a path to recovery. Counselors trained to work specifically with this addiction have the tools and resources to create a treatment plan. But the process starts with that first important step: asking for help.

Compass Mark offers guidance to people who want to break free from gambling addiction. Whether you’re concerned about your own behavior or worried about someone you know, we’ll point you to help in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA. Contact our team for non-judgmental guidance at 717-299-2831 or use the Gambling Problems Help Form.

Learn more in:

Problem Gambling- 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses
Is a Loved One Addicted to Gambling? 5 Tips for Family, Friends
Teens: Sex, Drugs, and…Gambling? What Parents Need to Know  

Seniors & Problem Gambling: Does Your Loved One Need Help?

Have you lost sleep over a senior family member’s gambling behavior? If so, you’re not alone. Problem gambling is a hidden addiction among older Americans, according to presenters at a conference hosted by the Wellspring Center for Prevention and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ).

Several speakers highlighted the dangers of problem gambling in seniors, according to a Greater Media Newspapers article. One older speaker was a former mailman and messenger who spent years gambling openly. His gambling became more frequent after retirement. After his wife expressed concern about the behavior, the man became a closet gambler, secretly frequenting Atlantic City casinos. The man said during the conference, “I became a much better liar than a gambler.” He eventually began attending Gamblers Anonymous—and was forced out of retirement to pay off gambling debts.

During the conference, another in recovery from the addiction detailed how he failed to pick up his granddaughter because he was secretly gambling in Atlantic City. “I failed as a grandfather,” he said.

Casino staff members frequently pay special attention to senior gamblers, according to Daniel J. Trolaro, education coordinator at CCGNJ. Some employees will even send cards to seniors who haven’t visited the casino for a while. “They’ll greet you by your first name,” he said. “They’re happy to remember you. You’re getting treated like royalty.”

What to Do if You’re Worried About a Senior You Love

Know the Signs of Gambling Addiction in Seniors

  • Lying about time or money spent gambling;
  • Hiding gambling losses;
  • Gambling alone;
  • Tapping credit cards or dedicated funds, like a life insurance policy, to gamble;
  • Pawning or selling household items or valuables;
  • Lacking money to pay for medications;
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.

Understand Treatment Options

Before talking with your loved one, it’s helpful to understand the paths he or she has to recovery. Every person’s situation is different, so treatment plans may vary. However, in general, compulsive gambling treatment includes talk therapy, in which a trained counselor will help your loved one identify the root causes of their behavior. Then the gambler will learn healthier ways to cope with those negative emotions and unhealthy thought processes.

Treatment may also include self-help meetings, like Gamblers Anonymous. Other components might include, if needed, alcohol abuse treatment, clinical depression treatment, family counseling, or financial counseling.

Have a Conversation

It’s never easy to talk with a loved one about unhealthy behaviors, but it’s critical that you have the conversation. What’s more, it’s important to have it sooner rather than later with senior problem gamblers because he or she has less time to rebuild the financial resources needed to live a healthy life. Find more detailed tips for having the discussion in Living with a Compulsive Gambler-Tips for Family.

Find Help
The Compass Mark team has been helping families find the resources to overcome addiction in Lancaster, PA for 50 years. Call 717-299-2831 or use our easy Gambling Addiction Help Form. We’ll guide you to the right resources for you and your loved one.


Warning Signs of Problem Gambling [Infographic]

How do you know if you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling? The signs of compulsive gambling aren’t always crystal clear (which is why it’s sometimes called the hidden addiction), but there are red flags that suggest it’s time to seek out professional help.

Gambling addiction is a diagnosable condition that impacts every aspect of life—not just the bank account. The stress and strain of this addiction affects physical and emotional well-being. It’s been linked to substance abuse, clinical depression, and increased suicide risk.

Check out this warning signs infographic from Ohio for Responsible Gambling. (If you need to view it at a larger size, right click on the image and choose “open image in new tab.”) Then take the simple assessment quiz on our home page to find out if you or someone you know is at risk for compulsive gambling. If you need additional help, a counselor trained to work with gambling addiction can conduct a thorough assessment and, when necessary, develop a treatment plan that points you toward recovery.


Learn More
Support Your Compulsive Gambling Recovery: Do’s and Don’ts
Is a Loved One Addicted to Gambling? 5 Tips for Family, Friends
Gambling Addiction Treatment Options in the Lancaster/Lebanon Area

Get Help
For 50 years, Compass Mark has been helping individuals and families discover help and hope for addiction disorders. Don’t wait until “rock bottom” to seek help.  Call our team for confidential guidance at 717-299-2831 or use the Compulsive Gambling Help Form.