As sports betting increases, the incidence of gambling disorders rises

11 Min Read

As sports gambling increases across America, there are record profits for the gambling companies and a tax revenue windfall for state governments. But at the same time, the number of people with a gambling disorder is increasing.

Since one High Council A 2018 ruling has seen legal sports betting boom in the US. Thirty-eight states have passed laws to allow sports gambling, while another six are considering it. More than two-thirds of American adults (approximately 164 million) now live in a legal sports betting market.

The American Gaming Association earlier this year issued a report on the industry’s financial performance for 2023. For the third year in a row, the commercial gaming industry has set a new revenue record. Total casino gaming, sports betting and iGaming revenues reached $66.52 billion, up 10% from the previous record set in 2022.

The sports betting frenzy is fueled by partnerships including celebrity influencers, sponsorships in professional sports and sporting events, as well as television networks, radio and online media.

Advertising and marketing campaigns are ubiquitous. They cover the airwaves and social media sites. Commercials often boast of “risk-free” betting, with former athletes promoting betting companies.

Access to gambling is facilitated by online apps. Almost all bets can be made from a person’s smartphone these days. And a moneyline bet is perhaps the most popular and certainly the simplest form of sports betting because it is placed on the outcome of a game: which team or competitor will win a particular game, match or race. This particular type of bet does not involve point spreads or other factors.

See also  Scientists discover that sleep may not clear toxins in the brain

Increase in the incidence of gambling disorders

Although many people, young and old, like to bet on sports and can increasingly do so legally, the incidence of gambling disorders is increasing. highest ever. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that approximately 2.5 million adults in the U.S. are seriously addicted to gambling, and another four to six million people have mild to moderate gambling problems.

The American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association recognize pathological (or “compulsive”) gambling as a diagnosable mental disorder characterized by a preoccupation with betting, inability to cut back or quit, repeatedly gambling beyond one’s means, borrowing money to finance the situation. the habit or pursuit of losses by betting more.

Like any other addictive condition, a gambling disorder can affect a person’s physical and mental health.

Newsweek reported Last year it emerged that easy access to new gambling opportunities was associated with a greater risk of someone experiencing serious gambling problems, including addiction.

Young male adults appear to be disproportionately affected. Compulsive gambling habits can lead to increasing borrowing, credit card debt and pressure to borrow or steal. Worse still, among addictive disorders, gambling has a relative high rate of suicide attempts.

Several statewide studies have shown an increase in the incidence and prevalence of gambling disorders since 2018. And almost every state in the US has seen an increased demand in recent years for treatment services related to problems caused by gambling.

Currently, there is no federal funding for the treatment of gambling disorders. But Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wants that change That. In January, he introduced the Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act, which sets aside federal funds to help prevent, treat, and study gambling addiction. On Twitter, he spoke of companies that “exploit their wealth of real-time data and algorithms to capture vulnerable users.”

See also  Why is cancer called cancer? For the answer we have to go back to Greco-Roman times

Congressman Tonko’s Crusade

Senator Blumenthal is not the only one trying to tackle problems with gambling. New York Congressman Paul Tonko was the first lawmaker to formally express his concerns when he introduced the bill Betting on our Future Act in February last year. This legislation would ban all online and electronic sports gambling advertising.

Although state laws do not allow advertising to target audiences under the age of 21 in sports betting, gambling or related activities, Tonko claims that advertisements pose a particularly dangerous “threat to young adults who are unaware of the risks associated with gambling and for individuals prone to addiction.”

Furthermore, Tonko believes that since 2018, the sports betting industry has been operating in a “Wild West, largely unregulated environment,” which is a “massive and growing public health crisis involving a well-known, addictive product.”

Tonko too announced this spring, he plans to soon introduce another piece of legislation that, if passed, would severely limit how online sports betting companies market and interact with their customers. Although it has not yet been formally introduced, Tonko has called his planned proposal the SAFE Bet Act. It would ban sports betting during live sporting events, not allow language in advertisements that include terms like “bonus” or “no sweat” bets, and limit the number of deposits made to a gambling operator from a single customer to five within a 24-hour period and banning the use of artificial intelligence to track a player’s gambling habits.

Given the vested interests state governments have in tax revenue, Tonko’s proposals may not gain much support among colleagues. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle have said that legalizing gambling will provide states with much-needed additional revenue.

Additionally, critics of the legislation introduced last year claim it infringes on “speech,” arguing that sports gambling advertising is protected as a First Amendment right.

That said, there is precedent for (selectively) banning advertising. In fact, Tonko’s 2023 proposal is modeled after the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which banned tobacco advertising in certain media beginning in the 1970s.

See also  A look back at 10 cyber hits in the sports world

Lessons from the European situation?

For now, Tonko’s 2023 bill and his intention to enact another piece of legislation this year are far from being passed.

Interestingly, with the advertising boom in full swing in the US, many countries in Europe are moving to impose strict limits on promotions or eliminate gambling advertising altogether. Perhaps other countries’ experiences with legal gambling offer clues to where the U.S. might be headed at some point. Across Europe, government agencies are placing emphasis on gambling advertisements, sponsorship and celebrity participation in advertising campaigns.

In Britain, which has a long tradition of legal gambling, mobile gambling became legal in 2005. But recently the UK Committee of Advertising Practice banned gambling ads featuring former sports stars and social media influencers. In addition, gambling companies are now prohibited from featuring teams’ official uniforms and stadiums in advertising campaigns, nor from displaying video game content. These rules apply to broadcast media, online and in print publications, as well as billboards and posters.

From 2021, members of the Dutch parliament began to draw attention to the potential dangers of gambling addiction, especially in young adult men. In the Netherlands, all advertising and sponsorship of online gambling is now prohibited. Furthermore, the House of Representatives banned (former and current) sports celebrities from participating in online betting promotions in 2022.

Belgium does crackdown on gambling advertisements because it seeks to prevent what government officials say is the “normalization and trivialization of gambling and betting.” The decision came amid what the attorney general called a “tsunami of advertising.” The government has banned gambling advertisements on television and radio, and on websites and social media platforms.

As more and more European countries look to rally gambling promotions and tackle the underside of the pastime, it remains to be seen whether a similar movement will emerge in the US. Will proposals like those that Representative Tonko and Senator Blumenthal are sponsoring will get a pass. support during transit?

The increase in sports betting options appears to have contributed to an increase in the number of people suffering from gambling addiction. It’s unclear whether this will lead to changes in the law to curb advertising practices and provide federal assistance to help treat problem gamblers.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *