New York State allowed mobile sports betting to begin on Jan. 8. During the first 23 days all the headlines stated that there was $1.62 billion wagered and there was $113 million in revenue. In all the excitement we seem to have forgotten that for some, the availability of mobile sports betting could lead to a gambling problem.
With the increased availability of gambling opportunities, comes an increase in problems. Having access 24 hours a day with endless wagering possibilities makes an already-troubling issue worse. The combination of sports wagering and technology attracts a new, younger demographic of bettors and leaves young people more susceptible to developing a problem.
Mobile sports betting has been legal in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2017 and 2018, respectively. Pennsylvania has seen a 285% increase in calls to their Problem Gambling helpline. In New Jersey, about 50% of those in treatment for a gambling problem have a problem with sports betting. If New York sees a similar trend, which we expect, our helpline will be flooded with calls from gamblers and their families in need of treatment.
If you or someone you know is wagering more than they can afford, preoccupied by sports and gambling, neglecting responsibilities, or feeling stressed and anxious, the Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center is here to help. Call 516-226-8342 or email [email protected] for local, confidential support. You don’t have to struggle alone!
Pamela Brenner-Davis is the team leader for the Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center