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Planning to celebrate the big game? Play it safe!

Planning to Celebrate the “Big Game” on Sunday, February 5? Play it Safe!

The Super Bowl is the single most watched sporting event in the U.S. It’s a great time to have fun with family and friends. But for some, the partying and gambling can get out of control.


The “big game” is a national gambling holiday. It is the single most wagered sporting event in our country. The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that in 2016, Nevada sports books reported taking in more money in legal wagers on last year’s game than any “big game” in history – $132.5 million! In addition, the American Gaming Association estimated that Americans bet $4.2 billion on the game in illegal wagers.


Why all the excitement and action on this “big game” Sunday? It’s a recreational and social phenomenon, an annual rite of celebration. Aside from the indulgence on food and drinks, opportunities abound to bet on the game. There are office and home parties, online sports betting sites, and mobile sports betting as close as your smart phone.   There are also limitless possibilities for what you can bet on throughout the game – will the coin toss be heads or tails, how long will the National Anthem take to complete, number of points per quarter, and so on.


For most people, this annual football celebration is just a game, and they can bet on it safely and responsibly. Wagering on this game should be viewed as entertainment only. For those who gamble more frequently, this game may be considered as a chance to make up for past losses, the belief that you are one bet away from winning all your money back.


For some, betting on this event can be a trigger and part of a larger gambling problem. Over 150,000 people in Maryland (3.4% of the population surveyed in 2011) met problem gambling criteria. For those who struggle with gambling problems, the “big game” may be seen as a last ditch effort to end a season long losing streak and make up for all past losses.


If you are planning game day activities in your home, work place or community setting please be aware that there may be individuals in your family, community or workplace who are struggling with gambling. Here are some suggestions for making this game fun for everyone:

+ Don’t pressure anyone to participate in pools or gambling activities.

+ Have information about Problem Gambling and resources for help available.

+ Use this game day as an opportunity to increase awareness about problem gambling.

+ Be creative – think of ways to enjoy the game without having to gamble.

+ If you do include gambling, suggest low limits for amount of bets.


Here are some strategies to put in place for your “big game” celebration before and during the game to keep yourself a winner!

+ If you place a bet, look at it as entertainment and NOT a way to make money or win back previous losses.

+ Limit the amount of drinking when you’re gambling – the more you drink the more money you’re likely to bet.

+ Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose – set a money limit and stick with it!


If you or someone you know struggles with gambling, call or text our 24-hour, free and confidential Helpline – 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or visit us and chat at www.helpmygamblingproblem.org.


Problem Gambling is an addiction, and we can help!