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?


Brain Activity Linked to Problem Gambling [Research]

Gambling addiction activates the same brain areas as cravings for alcohol and other drugs, according to recent research.  The study also revealed that problem gamblers showed a weaker connection between some areas of the brain.

The gambling study, conducted by an international team of researchers and funded by the UK Medical Research Council, found that gambling triggers activity in two brain areas, the insula and nucleus accumbens, in those addicted to the behavior. These regions are linked to rewards, impulse control, and decision making. Previous research had connected those areas to cravings for alcohol and other drugs.

In addition, the researchers discovered that problem gamblers showed a weaker connection between the nucleus accumbens and frontal lobe, which plays a role in decision making. Experts theorize that the weaker frontal lobe link makes it harder for a problem gambler to control impulses and easier to ignore the negative consequences of unhealthy gambling behavior.

The findings suggest that gambling addiction could possibly be treated in the future by controlling activity in those brain areas affected by gambling.

Gambling Resources for Health Care & Treatment Professionals

Treatment for Problem Gambling in Lancaster, PA, Lebanon, PA, and the Surrounding Area
Council on Compulsive Gambling in Pennsylvania
National Council on Problem Gambling
College Gambling Resources for Campus Health Professionals  

If you’re in Lancaster or Lebanon, you can also count on the Compass Mark Referral Team to guide you to the resources you need to help patients and clients.


Gambling Addiction: Taking the Fantasy Out of Fantasy Football

Fantasy football players say that Draft Day is one of the most anticipated days of the year, according to a recent survey by SurveyMonkey and About 63% of the approximately 2,000 fantasy players surveyed described themselves as “big fans,” and 20% said Draft Day is the most anticipated day of their year–beating out Christmas and birthdays.

The fantasy football survey revealed other interesting statistics as well. Among people who play the game:

  • 29% spend at least an hour each week adjusting their lineups during work;
  • 65% check scores while in the bathroom;
  • 50% check scores over holiday dinners;
  • 36% check in on their teams during work meetings;
  • 33% play fantasy football to socialize with family and friends.

Fantasy football can trigger real-life consequences.

For many Americans, fantasy football is a fun way to enjoy a sport they love and connect with family and friends. For others, however, fantasy football can be a risky activity that contributes to problem gambling—a fact that may be surprising considering the game often takes place over a period of weeks and the primary payout usually comes to winners at season’s end.

In truth, any activity that stakes money on an outcome is gambling. It doesn’t matter if that money is staked on a poker game, lottery ticket, basketball tournament, or fantasy football league.

Last year, for example, The New York Times shared the story of a man with a gambling problem that spiraled out of control when he played fantasy football. The man eventually lost $20,000 on daily online fantasy sports games and additional tens of thousands on illegal sports bets.

Find gambling help in Lancaster, PA.

Are you worried that your fantasy football play is getting out of control? Are you concerned about a loved one’s betting behavior? Take the gambling risk quiz.

Let the Compass Mark team direct you to problem gambling treatment and prevention in Lancaster County, PA and Lebanon County, PA. For confidential, no-judgment guidance, call us at 717-299-2831 or fill out our Help Form.


Virtual Reality Gambling: A Risk to Problem and At-Risk Gamblers?

Imagine a Pokémon-like game combined with gambling in a virtual reality setting. That’s precisely what one company is now trying to deliver to players. One of the leading providers for real-money, skill-based gaming, Gamblit Gaming, announced a partnership with another company to produce a location-based real-money gaming experience.

Gamblit’s website styles its products as “Gaming meets gambling, and everybody wins.” In the new game, players will fight virtual monsters as well as wager on their success. Spectators will also be able to watch and bet on players. The game uses HTC’s VRC (Virtual Reality Cube) and offers “room-scale VR and true-to-life” interactions.

It’s true that many Americans will likely be able to enjoy this or similar games without negative consequences; however, this technology also presents one more potential pathway to gambling addiction for those at risk.

Compulsive gambling is a diagnosable condition that has a devastating impact on the 6-9 million Americans estimated to meet the criteria. It’s been linked to an increased risk for substance abuse, domestic violence, depression, and suicide.

As gambling becomes increasingly available via tablets, smartphones, and other devices, it’s critical for individuals, families, educators, and healthcare providers to become more aware of this addiction, which often flies under the radar. The addition of a virtual reality component to wagers is troubling considering that research suggests the environment surrounding gambling, such as casino lights or sounds, spurs riskier bets.

Finding Help and Resources for Problem Gambling in Lancaster and Lebanon

Whether you’re an educator worried about a student’s gambling or a healthcare provider in need of a patient referral, visit Compass Mark’s Gambling Resources for links to articles, journals, and other help resources.

If you’re struggling with gambling or you’re worried about your behavior but aren’t quite sure if you have a problem, contact our team at 717-299-2831 or use our simple Help Form. We’ll share confidential guidance and resources to help you find a healthier path.


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  

Gambling: America’s 2nd Favorite Way to Spend Money Online While Drinking [Survey]

Online gambling is the second favorite money-spending activity for Americans who hit the Internet after they’ve been drinking alcohol. The consumer survey was conducted by personal finance comparison website to evaluate America’s online shopping/drinking habits. It uncovered that 6.2% of participants said they had gambled online while inebriated.

The findings also revealed a gender difference: men who spent money online while drunk reported gambling as the most frequent activity—10% of male participants had done it compared with 4% of female respondents.

Clothing and shoe purchases topped the overall list, with about 7% of the 3,123 participants saying they’d bought these items online while drinking.

Alcohol-induced purchases are a familiar topic on some lifestyle websites, often boasting headlines like 17 of the Worst Drunk Purchases Ever. They’re intended to be lighthearted articles; however they underscore the fact that alcohol abuse lowers inhibitions. It might seem funny when a person’s drunk-purchased a taxidermied squirrel dressed like Napoleon—but when inhibitions regarding unhealthy gambling behavior disappear the stakes can be far higher. Gambling while drinking may raise the risk for problem gambling, particularly among those already at an elevated risk.

Alcohol Abuse & Problem Gambling

Alcohol abuse and problem gambling often occur hand-in-hand. Experts estimate 73% of compulsive gamblers–those with the most serious form of the disorder–struggle with alcohol abuse. About 45% of people with problem gambling–those who gamble enough that it has a negative impact on their life–have an alcohol use disorder too.

Recovery from alcohol abuse & problem gambling is possible.

You or your loved one can recover and build a life guided by positive choices and renewed hope. A professional therapist can assess a problem gambler/alcohol abuser and recommend a coordinated treatment plan that addresses these as well as any underlying issues that may contribute to the behaviors.

Find a Problem Gambling Therapist in Lancaster or Lebanon. You can also call Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 for prevention resources and judgment-free guidance.

Get the information you need to make positive changes.

Take the quiz on our home page to learn if you or a loved one is at risk for problem gambling.


2016 March Madness Bets Will Near $10 Billion—Is It a Gamble on Addiction?

Americans will wager an estimated $9.2 billion on March Madness in 2016, an increase from $9 billion in 2015, according to an industry association. What’s more, Americans will complete more than 70 million brackets this year—likely more than the estimated number of ballots that will be cast for any single candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

Millions of people will bet for fun in licensed gaming facilities, through wagering websites, and in office pools. But, for some, the NCAA tournament isn’t as harmless. The annual sports event has the potential to seriously impact the lives of many, including:

People at Risk for Problem Gambling

The wagering atmosphere can help nudge someone already vulnerable to gambling addiction into the condition. Learn more in Did March Madness Lead to April Sadness? Factors that boost the risk for compulsive gambling include:

  • Having current or past substance abuse;
  • Having a family history of addiction;
  • Experiencing physical, verbal, or sexual abuse;
  • Gambling for the first time at an early age;
  • Being a college student, senior, or military veteran;
  • Gambling as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, boredom, or loneliness;
  • Going through major life transitions, such as job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one.
Gamblers in Recovery

People recovering from gambling problems can face relapse challenges during March Madness. From office pools to game-watching parties, gambling triggers might be hard to avoid. Use these strategies to help avoid relapse:

  • Make appointments to see your gambling addiction counselor regularly throughout tournament season.
  • Attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
  • If the games themselves trigger gambling cravings, find a healthy alternative activity during game time. For example, take a long walk, work on a house project, or enjoy a movie with a friend.
  • Excuse yourself from having lunch or break time with co-workers if you know they’ll be talking about office pools.
  • Keep resources for gambling help nearby. In Pennsylvania, call the PA Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-565-2112.
  • Contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 for Lancaster and Lebanon help resources, including prevention, education, intervention, and treatment.

Learn more about the potential risks of fantasy sports at Compass Mark’s Start the Conversation: Fantasy Sports Gamble on Wednesday, March 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This session, held at the Blair Room, 630 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, is worth 2 CEU credits.


Fantasy Football: Priming Kids for Problem Gambling?

Fantasy football is just fun-n-games for kids, right? Maybe not, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The groups recently sent letters to the NFL asking the organization to stop marketing its fantasy sports league to children because it could raise the risk of problem gambling in some youth.

The messages contend the NFL “aggressively” markets a fantasy sports game on its children’s website and smartphone app as well as through other outlets, such as the Sports Illustrated website for kids.  In addition, the game was marketed through an elementary school curriculum.

The fantasy league allows children ages 6-12 to pick a team of fantasy players and then collect points based on the athletes’ real-game performances. The two children with the highest point totals at season’s end were awarded a $5,000 check (which the NFL coined a scholarship) and a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

According to The Associated Press reporting, the curriculum component, which was discontinued after the 2014 season, entailed a math and language arts program that required children to sign up for the NFL’s fantasy game in order to access lessons and complete assignments.

Executive Director for the NCPG, Keith Whyte, said in a statement:

“The high value of the prizes may send a message to children that playing fantasy sports is a good way to earn money for education. Even worse, it may encourage children to spend excessive amounts of time trying to win these prizes, thus planting the seeds of addiction.”

Are Kids Vulnerable to Gambling Addiction?

Yes! Adolescents and student-athletes, in particular, are at higher risk for developing gambling addiction. What’s more, research suggests the earlier a child starts gambling, the higher his or her risk for developing compulsive gambling later in life.

Concerned adults, including parents, caregivers, educators, and youth ministers, often try to direct children toward healthier choices regarding risky activities, like smoking, sex, alcohol, and other drugs. Likewise, we have a responsibility to help youth understand the potential risks of gambling and how it can impact their lives financially, emotionally, and even physically. Learn more in Gambling Addiction and Kids and How to Prevent Teen Gambling.

To find gambling education resources for your family, school, or organization in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.


One Face of Gambling Addiction: 36-yr-old Mom of 6

“What does a gambling addict look like? Well, in my case a gambling addict looks like a 36-year-old mother of six.”

Those are the words of Kate Seselja, an Australian woman in recovery from compulsive gambling.

Seselja recently wrote a special commentary for CNN about her experiences with gambling, which started with lottery scratch cards as a child. She chronicles how her gambling behavior spiraled out of control over the next decades.

“I would go [to gamble] before work, after work, in lunch breaks, on nights out and days off. It’s easy to see now why some people call Pokies [slot machines] the “crack cocaine” of gambling. I was hooked,” she writes.

By age 32, the addiction had such a hold over Seselja’s life that she considered suicide as she sat pregnant and broke at a slot machine. “The nil balance on the screen was too much…Completely alone and feeling like there was nowhere to turn, my brain was trying desperately to figure out how to kill myself in such a way that my body could be kept alive in order to let my unborn baby be delivered to term.”

Compulsive Gambling Can Affect Anyone.

Problem gambling can impact anyone, regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity. If you’re losing sleep because of gambling–whether it’s your behavior or that of a loved one–it’s time to reach out for a helping hand.

Visit these resources to learn more about gambling addiction:

Compulsive Gambling- The Must-Know Fact for Gamblers & Their Families

Stop Losing Sleep Over Problem Gambling: Do’s and Don’ts for Recovery

Gambling Addiction Treatment Options in the Lancaster/Lebanon Area

Compass Mark guides individuals and families in Lancaster and Lebanon to the resources that help them prevent and heal from addictions like gambling. Call us at 717-299-2831 or get in touch using our simple online help form.


Gambler’s Fallacies More Common in Online Poker Players [Research]

Online gamblers appear more prone to believing common gambling fallacies, according to a recent study reviewed on WAGER (The Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report).

The researchers, who analyzed 111 online poker players and 167 players at live card tables, asked each participant to complete an inventory surveying their belief in four common gambler’s fallacies, including examples such as:

  • “If you are having a losing streak, you should keep gambling.”
  • “Staying at a machine increases your chances of winning.”
  • “A winning attitude will improve my chances in gambling.”
  • “If I use special rituals, I can avoid bad luck.”

Those in the online poker group were significantly more likely to agree with the distorted statements than those who played offline. What’s more, the researchers found the online group was more likely to rate their own poker skills higher than the offline group did, even though both groups were assessed as having the same empirical skill level.

Why did the online players more readily believe in gambler’s fallacies? As noted on WAGER, one potential reason is that online poker players may be more likely to play in isolation, without as much opportunity to trade ideas, tips, or information with a network of other players.

Problem gambling is treatable.

Fallacies, or misperceptions about gambling, are considered a cognitive distortion that contributes to unhealthy or compulsive betting behavior. Treatment, often in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can retrain the brain to be aware of these misperceptions to better control the urge to bet.

You or a loved one can heal from problem gambling. Professional therapy is considered the foundation for problem gambling treatment, however there are a number of additional ways to support recovery and reduce the urge to gamble, including support groups (like Gamblers Anonymous), positive lifestyle changes (such as reducing stress or anxiety), and family/marriage therapy.

To find out if you or a loved one is at risk for developing this addiction, take the quiz on our home page.

Visit our Treatment Resources to locate a provider trained to work with gambling addiction in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the surrounding areas.

For compulsive gambling prevention, education, or confidential help, contact Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831 or fill out the easy online help form.