A record-busting 45.2 million Americans will wager on the 2021-22 NFL season—up 36 percent over last year.
It’s easier than ever to bet legally in the U.S.; 26 states and Washington D.C. now have legal sports betting, and five more could join the tailgate by Super Bowl time. As the fan frenzy begins, remember the safest bet is a legal bet, made responsibly, within a budget.
Among expected bettors, the Kansas City Chiefs are the top pick to win the Super Bowl (15%) in February, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11%) and the Dallas Cowboys (7%). The Bucs and Cowboys will get the ball rolling Thursday night when they meet in Tampa for the season opener.
Whether you root for the Chiefs, the Bucs, the Cowboys or this week’s underdog, remember gambling is entertainment. You’re always a winner when you keep it fun. At the first sign of a gambling problem, pause, take a breather, and consider seeking help.
Don’t Get In Over Your Head
- Have you ever missed time from work or school because you were gambling?
- Has gambling ever caused you to feel regretful, damaged your reputation or adversely affected your finances?
- At times, do you have to fight the impulse to gamble, and feel restless or irritable if you can’t?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be one of the millions of Americans with a gambling disorder. In the U.S., the problem affects about 2% of the general population, affecting women more than men.
Problem gambling is called a “hidden addiction” because sufferers often show no obvious physical signs or symptoms. They may go to great lengths to conceal their behavior from friends, family and coworkers. Some may be unable or unwilling to admit they have a problem, even after they’ve lost more money than they can afford.
According to one theory, problem gamblers may respond to gambling the way alcoholics respond to drinking. The more they feed their habit, the worse it can become. Over time, compulsive gambling can lead to big losses—of money, relationships, employment and personal and financial peace of mind.
It can also lead to a cycle of debt in which gamblers “chase their losses” (trying to win back what’s already gone), and doing things like opening new lines of credit or borrowing to sustain their habit.
If any of this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Some people turn to gambling as a way to relieve depression or anxiety. Others have a genetic predisposition. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, this isn’t a financial problem, but “an emotional problem that has financial consequences.”
Moreover, problem gambling isn’t limited to “irresponsible or weak-willed people,” but affects people who may be responsible and strong in other parts of their life.
Here to Help
The legal U.S. casino industry is committed to helping problem gamblers by:
- Funding responsible gaming programs
- Displaying responsible gaming messages in advertising and on websites
- Training staff to identify problem gamblers and help them
- Limiting lines of credit, deposits and cash advances
- Offering self-exclusion programs that let gamblers take a break from onsite and online gambling venues for a period of time
iGamingPlayer joins the AGA and the legal casino and sportsbook industries in our commitment to responsible gambling. If you’re worried about your gambling habits, help is a phone call or computer click away, and professional counseling and support groups are widely available. For 24/7 confidential help, call 1-800-GAMBLER or go to 800GAMBLER.org.