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Lost in Fantasy: Sports Gambling Problems in New Jersey

In recent years, daily fantasy sports gaming and eSports have exploded in popularity. Modern technology has made these activities readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. At the same time, this technology also allows people to easily place bets and wagers on the outcomes of daily fantasy sports and eSports. As people engage in sports betting on their phones and within the comfort of their own homes, they may not be aware that they are slowly developing a gambling disorder.

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) urges people to enjoy such activities responsibly. Our nonprofit organization offers resources that help New Jersey residents understand the nature of disordered gambling and how it can be treated. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be struggling with sports betting, reach out to us for support as soon as possible.

Betting on Fantasy Sports and eSports

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association announced that, as of 2016, fantasy sports has become a $7.22 billion industry in the U.S. and Canada. Across both countries, over 59.3 million players regularly engage in the pastime. eSports, though not quite as popular as fantasy sports, has similarly blown up in popularity. Valued at over $900 million, the eSports market only continues to grow with each tournament and competition. The eSports betting scene has expanded accordingly.

The legality and ethics of fantasy and eSports betting has been much debated. Laws can even vary from city to city. While fantasy sports betting is legal in Atlantic City, for example, regular sports betting is not. In Monmouth, both are legal. Many people are not familiar with local and federal law concerning these activities. This lack of public awareness, however, has not impeded the growth of the fantasy sports and eSports industries.

People that place bets or wagers on fantasy sports and eSports every day may be at risk of developing a gambling disorder. This risk can be attributed to the instant gratification that fantasy sports and eSports betting provide. The accessibility and quick turnarounds inherent to these activities make it easy for people to place bets or wagers many times in quick succession, triggering their brain’s reward system over and over. Frequent gambling can cause their brains to become desensitized to the pleasure they receive from these activities. To trigger the same “high,” they need to gamble more and more. Eventually, this can lead to the development of a gambling disorder.

The Path to Recovery

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a sports gambling problem, you are not alone. Thousands of NJ residents find that they have lost control over their sports betting behavior. Many disordered gamblers regularly participate in Gamblers Anonymous meeting groups in NJ. There, people that struggle with sports gambling or any other form of gambling can help one another as they work towards recovery. Residents from the following areas and throughout the rest of the state can easily find a local meeting group:

  • Vineland
  • Woodbridge
  • Parsippany
  • Trenton
  • Camden
  • Meadowlands area
  • Marlboro Township
  • Monmouth
  • Atlantic City
  • Freehold

The CCGNJ also assists many disordered gamblers with finding professional counselors. Through treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, counselors can teach these individuals effective strategies for coping with their urges. Counseling can also help problem gamblers identify underlying factors that may contribute to their disordered behavior. With this awareness, they can make positive changes in their lives that can help them maintain their efforts to change their behavior and ultimately recover.

There Is Hope

The CCGNJ has helped countless disordered gamblers from Camden, Trenton, Vineland, Woodbridge, and elsewhere throughout New Jersey change their behavior and regain control of their lives. If you find that you can’t seem to stop your sports betting activities, we offer many programs, services, and other resources that can support your path to recovery. For gambling help in NJ, reach out to us as soon as possible. Whether you cannot seem to stop engaging in off-track wagering or other types of gambling in Gloucester County, or anywhere else in the state, we can help. Every step you take towards treating your gambling disorder is another step towards preserving your happiness, health, and financial security.

The CCGNJ has dedicated itself to educating the general public about gambling disorder and to providing resources that aid the recovery of disordered gamblers. Whether you live in Freehold, Marlboro Township, the Meadowlands area, or Parsippany, help is readily available. If you or a loved one struggle with sports betting or any other form of problem gambling, call or text our free, confidential hotline, 800-GAMBLER.