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The Big Game Causes Bigger Betting Woes

The setting for this year’s Super Bowl is Las Vegas, until recent years one of the few places where you could bet on the game. A 2018 Supreme Court decision legalized sports betting, and now 38 states, New Jersey among them, allow gambling on the Big Game and virtually every other game. It was a New Jersey court case, Murphy vs the NCAA, that opened the floodgates to legalized sports betting across the country.

Over the past five years, legalized sports betting has completely remade the complexion of sports, and the NFL championship game epitomizes that change. Each February, as the kickoff nears, the focus is increasingly on the odds, the over/under and a host of other bets placed rather than on fans’ rooting interest. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) contributed to a ’60 Minutes’ segment that aired this past Sunday exploring the sports gambling surge. The report focused on how young men in particular are increasingly vulnerable to excessive online sports betting. The story stressed that the data and AI gambling companies have at their disposal put young men at a sizeable disadvantage.

With the Big Game’s return each year, one certainty is that wagers will surpass the record for the previous year. The anticipated new record is expected exceed last year’s estimated $16 billion in betting. CCGNJ notes that all the gambling hype surrounding the game makes this an especially challenging time for anyone with a gambling problem or in recovery from such a problem.

The ease, accessibility, and convenience of online sports betting loom large in the gambling culture. A statewide gambling prevalence study commissioned by CCGNJ in 2022 found that 28 percent of residents identified ease of access to betting apps as a major influence on their gambling. Young people’s comfort with technology makes them especially susceptible to online betting. They also are fed a steady diet of gambling ads on their social media accounts.

Another concern is the volume of in-game bets, also known as prop bets (short for proposition bets). With the Big Game, these wagers run from gambling on the coin toss before kick-off and carry through to the color of the Gatorade soaking the winning coach will receive from his players. In-game bets can be made on any given play, such as “will it be a run or a pass, a gain or a loss.” The capacity to wager throughout the game allows gamblers to take as many risks as there are plays, and with every setback comes the temptation to try to recoup one’s losses with yet another bet.

CCGNJ wants to encourage everyone to gamble responsibly. You can do so by keeping the following in mind:

  • Gamble for fun, not for profit
  • Set limits on your time and money (for example, do not allow automatic withdrawals from your linked bank account)
  • Only spend what you can afford and do not withdraw more money to chase your losses
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Know the resources where help is available

Remember that HELP is always available! Call for help 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – 800GAMBLER or Text ‘800GAMBLER’ to 800GAMBLER.

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