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Football and Gambling – Tips To Keep Your Super Bowl Betting Safe and “Penalty Free”

This weekend, NFC playoffs (Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers) and AFC playoffs (New England Patriots and Denver Broncos) will determine the two teams playing in Super Bowl 50. And on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, millions of TV viewers will gather and tune in at public venues and private homes to watch and to wager.

Experts estimate Americans will bet about $3.8 billion on this year’s big game, or about $12 for every person in the country. According to an article published on Forbes online magazine in 2015, the estimate of the total amount wagered during a Super Bowl event is even higher, exceeding $8 billion. Gamblers have options to place a bet: a dollar or more on the football grid at their private party; a legalized bet through Las Vegas-based sportsbooks, or placing a “not so legal” bet online at sites sponsored by offshore companies (illegal in most states).

For those struggling with gambling addiction, the Super Bowl provides an overpowering temptation. It builds on the “high” that fantasizing about a big win can change one’s life. It’s another opportunity for “just one big score” – make the score and all financial and personal problems are resolved. It may be a last chance to “break even” after chasing loses throughout the season. This last chance to get out, that double or nothing belief, often leads to betting amounts far in excess of usual season betting.

Super Bowl also offers proposition bets, there can be more than 30 different bets available – will the coin toss be heads or tails? where there be a safety in the game? will the National Anthem be longer or shorter than a set time? which player will score first? – many of these bets have large odds so that that the chance of a big score seems possible. Much like a player may bet every game on Sunday, there will be an urge to wager on all these proposition bets so the money can quickly get out of hand.

Gambling should never be considered as the “solution.” Gambling should be viewed only as a game and entertainment.

Here are a few tips to keep your gambling fun and problem free this Super Bowl:

  • Gamble for entertainment and don’t expect to win.
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Never chase losses.
  • Limit your time to gamble.
  • Don’t mix drinking and gambling.
  • Balance gambling with other recreational activities.

Warning signs when gambling may be turning from fun to addiction:

  • Not being interested or enjoying a sporting event if you don’t have money riding on it.
  • Getting so irritable, angry or even violent when your team is losing that friends and family don’t want to be around you
  • Increase in gambling- number of games you bet on or amount of money you bet.
  • Increase in cravings for other addictive behaviors (smoking, alcohol, etc.).
  • Gambling to relieve boredom, anxiety or depression.
  • Gambling is a rush or a high.
  • Trouble concentrating on anything but gambling.
  • Missing deadlines and important activities.
  • Borrowing money to keep gambling or pay off gambling debts
  • Worrying about mounting debts and inability to pay them.
  • Family is hurt, angry or afraid, they don’t understand.

If you or any one you know has questions about gambling and how gambling may be affecting your life, call or text 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). All calls and texts are free, confidential, and 24/7. Or chat with us at helpmygamblingproblem.org.