Sports play a huge role in America’s society. From shaping our youth by teaching the basic principles of teamwork and friendship to providing family-friendly entertainment year-round, sports are considered to be one of America’s favorite pastimes for many reasons. But is America’s love for sports is often intertwined with gambling — is this hurting players and sports overall?
How Gambling Affects the Game and Its Players
From buying tickets to games and paying extra for sports streaming subscriptions to buying team merchandise and betting on games, Americans spend a lot of money on sports. For example, in 2018, it was estimated that Americans would spend more than $10 billion betting on the NCAA’s popular college basketball tournament known as March Madness. While betting numbers like this are not uncommon for high-profile sporting events such as March Madness, placing friendly bets on sporting games has not only deterred fans from watching, but also lead to its fair share of scandals and turmoil.
For example, the prevalence of gambling in sports has tempted players, game officials and executives alike to participate in gambling schemes.2 In past cases, players and officials have agreed to miss or make calls and plays, or throw games completely in exchange for money.2 While gamblers may benefit monetarily from betting on these “rigged” games, players and officials are left to deal with the stress of public scrutiny and the possibility of facing jail time.
Furthermore, this dishonesty can cause sports fans major disappointment and distress in the form of missed opportunities and blown championships.
The effects of gambling on sports don’t stop there. In fact, gambling schemes in the NFL and NCAA have led to professional and collegiate players experiencing immense psychological pressure, and they may even turn to crime for extra cash.2 For example, gambling has been found to have major implications among college sports with the NCAA reporting that outside gamblers often use online betting sites and bookies to obtain “inside” betting information from student-athletes. Student-athletes are some of the biggest targets for gambling schemes and when involved in such activities can face severe consequences that can negatively impact their personal lives and future career.2
While gambling can be done in a safe and responsible manner, some New Jersey residents struggle to participate in sports gambling in Atlantic City in a healthy way. If you or a loved one struggle with safely and responsibility betting for sports in Freehold, NJ, please call 800-GAMBLER today. Our free and confidential helpline is available 24/7 to offer access to rehabilitation and support resources for disordered gamblers in the state of New Jersey.