Sports betting (placing a wager on any aspect of a sporting event) is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the world. Major sporting events such as the NCAA Basketball tournament, February’s “Big Game” and the MLB’s World Series are some of the more publicized opportunities to engage in betting behavior.
While legislation to legalize sports betting is being introduced in many U.S. States which will broaden the access to sports betting, “illegal sports wagering” (online, independent sports books, home parties, etc.) is already a thriving business with estimates in the U.S. ranging from $67 billion to $400 billion spent.
What is for many just social gambling or harmless fun can turn into a struggle for the sports gambler and problem gambler alike. Research shows 1-2% (2.5 – 5 million) of adults experience serious gambling problems. The Center’s goal is to ensure that Maryland residents who choose to participate in gambling activities, like sports betting, can do so responsibly and “safe” and be with the information and the tools necessary to make informed and healthy decisions.
Signs of compulsive sports gambling:
-Excessive telephone calls to 900 numbers and staying on internet sports pages
-Obsessive interest or talk about point spreads
-Shifting allegiance for/against the same team on different games
-Extremely defensive, agitated and argumentative about gambling behavior
-After losing, eager to bet again or more in order to get even or ahead
There is Hope. There is Help.
If you or someone who know is struggling with problems due to gambling, call 1-800-GAMBLER or go online to helpmygamblingproblem.org. Get connected to Peer Recovery Support Specialists who can help navigate to the right resources for assistance. Maryland treatment providers now provide counseling at no cost to individuals and their families dealing with the negative impact of gambling behavior.
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