How a New Era of March Madness Presents Additional Challenges for Problem Gamblers

This year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is the first in history during which gambling is legal in the state of New Jersey. In May of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled to allow all states — not just Nevada — to legalize gambling on individual sporting events. Last June, New Jersey did just that, ushering in a new era filled with new challenges for anyone struggling with a gambling problem.

Big Money, More Potential Problems

Not surprisingly, sports betting in New Jersey took off like wildfire. Some statistics:

  • Gamblers in our state already are pouring a reported $400 million into sports betting every month.
  • Sports betting has generated an eye-popping $2 billion in New Jersey since June 2018.
  • Sports betting in Atlantic City resulted in a 26 percent increase in casino revenue in the month of February, compared to last year.
  • This year’s NCAA Tournament is expected to surpass the Super Bowl in terms of the volume of sports gambling going on throughout the state.

If you or a loved one is coping with a gambling problem, tournament time (March 19 – April 8) could prove to be especially daunting this year. The excitement of filling out an NCAA bracket and following game after game over the course of three weekends takes on a different tone when money can be wagered on every game, there are new businesses popping up whose sole purpose is to facilitate sports gambling, and more and more people you know are starting to place bets.

A Growing Interest in Gambling

A New York-based digital media company called Action Network was founded in 2017 in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision to open up sports betting to states. The startup hired renowned sports journalists from outlets such as ESPN. In addition to taking bets on college basketball and other sports, Action Network offers a subscription service to provide would-be gamblers with up-to-the-minute details about every game, including player injuries and team lineup changes.

The company predicts that the spread of legalized sports betting across the country will prompt people who never gambled before to develop an interest, making gambling on sports even more mainstream.

What You Can Do

Developing a plan for enjoying March Madness in a healthy way will help you stay on track if you struggle with a gambling problem. You can still enjoy one of the greatest spectacles in American sports by setting limits for yourself, both in terms of how much time you spend watching and how much money you wager.

A proper support system is vital, and CCGNJ can help provide that support 24 hours a day, seven days a week via our confidential helpline and text support service. Contact us anytime, whenever you or someone you care about needs help navigating a way through March Madness.




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