March Madness & Problem Gambling [Infographic]

For many people, March Madness is a time to enjoy friendly bets with family, friends, and coworkers. However, for some it can be a catalyst for problem gambling behavior, which can have a significant impact on school, work, and relationships.

If a person currently struggles with gambling addiction or is at risk for the condition, the annual NCAA tournament can create a path toward continued or deepening gambling problems.

Problem gambling isn’t a money issue. It’s a diagnosable and treatable condition in which a person is no longer able to make reasonable choices about betting. Like other addictions, it’s been linked to changes in the brain that affect decision-making abilities.

Signs of Problem Gambling
  • You find yourself lying or acting evasively about money.
  • You neglect responsibilities, like work or school, for gambling.
  • You have mood swings that depend on whether you’re winning or losing.
  • You have arguments with family or friends about money.
  • You’ve borrowed money to gamble or to pay for necessities because you lost money betting.
  • You’ve borrowed money without permission—even though you may intend to pay it back.
  • You’ve taken money out of dedicated accounts, like retirement funds or life insurance, to gamble.
  • You delay or avoid necessary purchases, like groceries or medicine, because you’d rather use your money to place bets.

This gambling infographic from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Rochester Area shares facts and stats about sports betting and March Madness.

 

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?

 

Tips to Resist the Urge to Gamble on the Super Bowl

Americans will wager an estimated $4.2 billion on the upcoming Super Bowl, according to a casino trade group. About 3% of those bets will be placed legally in casinos, while the remaining will occur in homes and workplaces or through sports betting sites and unlicensed bookmakers.

And there’s no question: betting on sports is a gamble—gaming board figures suggest legal sports wagers offer among the lowest winning percentages among gambling activities. For example, sports gamblers win 5.8% of the time, compared with 6.4% of slots players.

Tips to Resist Sports Betting

Wagering on any single sports event doesn’t necessarily indicate a person has a gambling problem. Millions of Americans will be able to bet for fun on everything from the coin toss winner to the final score.

For some, however, betting on the game is part of a pattern of unhealthy gambling behavior. What’s more, the social atmosphere surrounding the event can present challenges for those with problem gambling. If you or a loved one has gambling problems, events like the Super Bowl can trigger the urge to bet. Some gamblers may choose to avoid watching the game; however, if you want to take part in the festivities, here are tips to help you make healthier decisions:

  • Avoid participating in pools at the office and social clubs.
  • Avoid alcohol if you’re attending game parties—it lowers inhibitions and makes it harder for you to resist gambling cravings.
  • Attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting in Lancaster or Lebanon.
  • See your therapist. If you don’t currently have a plan to treat your problem gambling, consider consulting one of these Lancaster or Lebanon treatment providers.

Check out 6 Red Flags for Gamblers: When Is It Too Much?, or take the simple quiz on our home page to learn whether you’re at risk for compulsive gambling.

For 50 years, Compass Mark has given individuals and families the tools needed to overcome addiction. Let us help you. For additional problem gambling resources, including non-judgmental addiction referral information, call our team at 717-299-2831.

 

Do Fantasy Sports Lead to Real-Life Consequences for You?

About 41 million people in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2014, spending an average of nearly 9 hours each week on the activity, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Most people who participate in fantasy sports are able to play for fun—and it will never negatively impact their lives. However, for some, particularly those already at risk for problem gambling, it may provide one more avenue to unhealthy gambling behavior.

While it’s not technically considered gambling, there are gambling-type elements to fantasy sports. For example, numerous leagues offer cash payouts for wins and require entry fees to buy into play. (Fees alone for fantasy sports leagues will generate an estimated $18 billion by 2020.)

To find out if you or a loved one is at risk for developing gambling addiction, take the quiz on our home page. Contact Compass Mark through our online help form or call (717) 299-2831 for free, confidential problem gambling treatment referral in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA.

Check out the industry infographic below for more statistics on the popularity of fantasy sports.