Mobile Sports Betting Sparks Gambling Addiction in Indiana
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to dissipate in phases, professional sports leagues are back in action once again. This is in stark contrast to 2020 when major leagues were either postponed or canceled in the wake of the raging pandemic.
2020 also marks the beginning of legalized online sports betting in Indiana. The state posted over $46,516,489 in mobile wagers during the period as the maximum amount arrived from DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel.
What the Experts Say
Keeping up with the trend, Bowen Center Therapist James Wright revealed a stark increase in the number of people seeking help with gambling addiction ever since the beginning of 2020. According to the American Addiction Center, addiction is “the need to continuously engage in an activity or behavior despite being aware of the negative impacts on one’s mental or physical wellbeing, functioning at home or within the community”.
“The problem lies with the illusion that the next ticket will help them strike the jackpot. This is distorted thinking and what drives people into making irrational decisions. Everybody wants to get rich quickly. This is a major motivation behind punters going overboard with their bets, and the trend is more commonly seen among sports bettors. It’s important to abstain from such behavior and sit down with your spouse, children, or partner and fix a budget for gambling,” Wright explained.
“This isn’t a novel scenario. In any kind of situation where the outcome can be similar, you must practice necessary caution and some sort of restraint. However, this is easier said than done and most people end up making the same mistakes”, added Kyle Richardson, an Analyst working for The Fantasy Headliners, a sports betting analytics channel on YouTube that helps gamblers or anyone associated with sports. Richardson also works with mobile sports betting websites through his channel.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Indiana was targeted. The market is ideal for new investors and that is precisely what’s happening right now. I saw quite a few billboards go up, a lot of shows promoting sports betting. It’s a marketplace, and every player is looking to take a bite out of the pie”, Richardson added.
The Road Ahead
If you’ve been watching sports lately you must have come across a large volume of sports betting adverts. Wright says while this is an effective marketing strategy, it accelerates gambling addiction, especially among the newbies. Therefore, first-timers must exercise extreme caution before signing up.
Wright also believes there is a correct way to ease into gambling without turning into an addict. And the best option is to set a budget for yourself. Indiana lends a helping hand to Hoosiers seeking help with gambling addiction. For more information, visit https://www.in.gov/igc/problemgamblinghelp/2332.htm.
Richardson, however, extends his support to sports betting as he believes the activity offers people respite from grim realities. Richardson also added that the apps take sufficient measures to curb addiction. For instance, DraftKings has a Responsible Gambling section in its app to help recovering addicts, while there is a cool-off feature that restricts gambling for a pre-specified duration along with Patron Protection.