While some people can gamble without addictive tendencies, the fact remains that sports betting is still illegal in most states. The illegal bookie business is a multi-million dollar market with some reports saying that it has surpassed the $1 billion mark.
There are only four states that have legalized sports betting: Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware. If you live in the other 92% of America and have ever placed a bet on a sporting event there, chances are it was illegal.
Live & Learn
While small bets among friends, family and colleagues may seem harmless, the fact remains that they can snowball into bigger, more problematic gambling habits in the future.
In the 46 states that have outlawed sports betting, underground sportsbooks and gambling rings have emerged to meet the surging demand of illegal sports betting. From struggling college students to organized crime outfits, virtually anybody can start their own sportsbook.
The House Always Wins
For every Tom, Dick and Harry that win $500, there’s a Bill, Joe, Chris, Anne, Sean and Mike that lose $1,000. (That is not a statistic – we are just making a point.) Why do you think casinos have been so profitable so long?
People have short memories when it comes to losses. They only remember their wins. They only brag about their wins. A brain addicted to the rush of a win can justify any bet, despite its irrationality.
Game or Gambling?
With that being said, sports betting is no different than roulette, craps or blackjack. It’s simply gambling. It involves luck. It involves risk. Examples of sports gambling include:
- Participating in survivor pools and Super Bowl boxes at your job.
- Betting your brother/sister that your favorite team will beat their favorite team
- Betting your friend that you will beat him/her in fantasy football.
- Signing up online to place sports bets through an offshore website.
Examples of sports games include:
- Playing a game of HORSE (basketball) with your friends.
- Setting up a flag football game at your local park.
- Playing FIFA 17 online on your XBox or Playstation.
Can Games Become Gambling?
Of course. Once you start making wagers on anything, it becomes gambling. Whether you are betting actual money, dinner or push ups, you are gambling. When risking consequences, friendships and other social dynamics often become awkward when it’s time to collect. It’s not worth it if the risks outweigh the benefits–and it’s never worth it if it’s illegal.
So Many Options
Sports betting does not stop with picking who you think will win the game. The sportsbooks in Las Vegas have dozens of things that gamblers can bet on. Some things you can place wagers on include:
- Head or Tails? (The opening coin toss.)
- Which player will score the first points?
- Which team will score first?
- How many catches a player will have?
- Which team will do better in the first half?
This is where it is blatantly obvious that sports gambling can become problematic. There is no skill involved with predicting a coin toss outcome. It is simply a 50% chance to get it right. The problem that disordered gamblers frequently develop is the belief that their next win is right around the corner. As a result, they “chase their losses” indefinitely, even when they begin spending money they simply don’t have.
It’s Not All Fun & Games
Digging yourself into unpayable debt can become fatal.
As you could imagine, when people set up a betting account, their intentions are to win. Losing is rarely even an option. Many people see sports betting as easy money that can be gained simply by using “common sense.” Unfortunately, that is not the case.
When you place a wager that cannot be paid, it is possible that physical intimidation methods are initiated. Or, the debt you find yourself in may lead to increasing feelings of despair and possible thoughts of suicide. If you or somebody you know becomes engulfed in problem gambling, you are not alone…
Is Help Available?
Yes. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ (CCGNJ) offers problem gambling help 24/7 with our 1-800-GAMBLER helpline. As you now know, sports betting is illegal in our home state of New Jersey, which is why we make ourselves readily available to offer recovery resources for sports gambling in Monmouth, NJ, offline sportsbooks in Atlantic City, NJ, sports betting in Freehold, NJ, and all of the surrounding communities (even residents of NY, PA, DE, and beyond can use us!)
A phone call or text message can save a life. Visit http://800Gambler.org for more information.