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Understand the Risks

Excessive betting on sports can have a negative impact on your finances, relationships, and your mental health.

In Maryland, online and mobile sports betting went live at the end of November 2022. To date, the Center has seen an increasing number of in calls, texts and chats to the Helpline relating to sports betting, many of which relate to a younger demographic. Of Marylanders that sports bet and/or participated in fantasy sports, the percentage of disordered gamblers was higher compared to other forms of gambling.


  • Almost half of American adults have participated in sports betting and many of them have done it socially. But more people playing and betting could lead to a problem.
  • Among Maryland adults, 13.7% had gambled on traditional sports in the 12 months prior to being surveyed, while 3.4% had gambled on online sports.
  • 8% of Marylanders have gambled on yearly fantasy sports and 4.0% on daily fantasy sports, in the past year.
  • Disordered gambling was higher with those who participated in sports betting compared to those who did not participate in sports betting (3%): traditional sports betting 11.3%; fantasy sports 12.2%; daily fantasy sports 15.6%; and on-line 20.8%
  • Maryland’s 2022 prevalence survey also shows that 30% of Marylanders said they had ever done sports betting in their lifetime.

Prevention Tips:

  • Betting should not be a replacement for your hobbies or a way to earn income, and winning a bet should not be more important than cheering on your hometown team with your friends and family.
  • It is common to think that sports betting is not really gambling because the bettor knows the rules of the sport or is a fan of the team, and thus is sure they will win the bet. But every bet is all up to random chance, which makes any form of sports betting gambling. And as with any other type of gambling, sports betting is best done responsibly.
  • Problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or in extreme cases, even suicide.

Potential impact on youth and young adults

According to the 2021 NCPG NGAGE Report, the risks for gambling addiction overall have grown 30% from 2018 to 2021, with the risk concentrated among young males 18 to 24 who are sports bettors.  About 5% of all young people between 11 and 17 also meet at least one of the criteria for a gambling problem. Children and young people are the fastest-growing segment of gamblers. With the onset of mobile and online sports betting in Maryland, access and availability to sports books makes it easier for children and young adults to place wagers.