As mobile sports betting grows, so does the need for gambling addiction treatment

New York News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Three professional sports leagues are back playing at the same time. It’s a different tune than nearly a year ago when professional sports halted.

At the same time, Indiana was in its first year of legalized mobile sports betting. That state reported $46,516,489 in mobile sports betting receipts for the 2020 fiscal year. The most bets came from Draft Kings, Fan Duel, and Bet MGM.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that the state’s historic budget shortfall could be offset by a new online sports betting program. Currently, many New Yorkers travel to neighboring states to make wagers. One industry study said New Yorkers spent $837 million on sports betting in New Jersey in 2019.

Therapist James Wright said he’s also seeing an increase in people seeking gambling addiction treatment as mobile sports betting becomes even more mainstream. He explained that gambling addiction is a process addiction.

The American Addictions Center defines a process addiction as “The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community.”

“In their brain, that distorted thinking they really think that that next shot is going to be their ticket. Everybody wants fast money. That’s a lot behind it that drives it as well, especially your sports betting online. ‘Man, if I hit this one I’m going to make 50 bucks on this one.’ And they go for it. But as far as your partner, or your kids, or whatever, the best thing is to sit down with your spouse and make a budget for it,” said Wright.

“In any type of situation that you’re doing things like this you have to have some sort of restraint and some people just can’t,” explained Kyle Richardson, an analyst for The Fantasy Headliners.

The Fantasy Headliners is a YouTube page that goes over sports research that can help gamblers, or those interested in the game. Richardson said he also works with mobile sports betting sites that help support his channel.

“In [Indiana], definitely when it was legalized, I saw lots of billboards going up, lots of shows. It’s like anything. It’s a marketplace. All these companies are vying for different consumers,” said Richardson.

Increasingly, sports programming features many ads for mobile sports betting. Wright says this can trigger those with a gambling addiction.

NEWS10’s sister station in Indiana polled viewers, and many are sick of seeing the ads. Others say they are utilizing the ability to make those bets. See some responses in the gallery below:

Wright explains there is a safe way to mobile bet. The best option is to set a budget, and discuss that budget with others.

Through the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, New York offers resources for those looking for help with gambling addiction. Call their free, confidential “Hopeline” (877)-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) for referrals and information.

Richardson lends his support to sports betting. He says it offers a safe spot for people to place bets, and some of the revenue goes toward the state. Richardson also notes the apps also take steps to curb addiction.

DraftKings offers options for people to avoid addiction by offering a “Responsible Gaming” section on the Sportsbook app. Players can set spending, wager, and time limits. There’s also a “cool off” function pausing use of the app and a “Patron Protection” section offering facts about the dangers of gambling and contact information for help with addiction.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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