With Sports Betting Legal in NJ, More Gamblers Losing Control
Now that sports betting has been legalized, you may have noticed the numerous ads for placing a bet.
Not surprisingly, the number of people seeking help for a gambling problem is also on the rise.
“We have noticed a somewhat steady to slight uptick in the number of calls we’re receiving to our 800-GAMBLER helpline,” said Daniel Trolaro, the assistant executive director of the the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.
“Once you legalize the behavior we tend to see a few more people coming forward admitting they have a problem and asking for resources.”
He said calls are also coming in from friends and relatives of those who are struggling with a gambling issue.
Trolaro noted for several years about 3 percent of calls were from people with internet-related problems. But after internet gambling was approved in 2013, internet gambling calls climbed to about 9 percent.
He said they’re expecting the same kind of trend to develop after sports betting became legal in June.
Most people — about 90 percent of gamblers — don't have a problem
“We’re neither for nor against gambling — we just want to help people who develop a problem," Trolaro said.
He said than when you have companies marketing aggressively to encourage people to place bets on games, “for some of those people it’s going to create problems in their lives or may exasperate an existing problem.”
He said many sports betting companies are now promoting the fact that you can not only bet on who will win a game, but you can also make multiple bets during a game on which team will score next, who will throw the next touchdown, kicks the next field goal or make the next basket. He said this can "reinforce" problematic behavior.
“With sports betting now legalized especially on the mobile device, it allows people that opportunity to place a bet or a wager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," he said. "That accessibility and that speed and that reinforcement for some people can really create problems.”
He stressed “our 800 GAMBLER helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is a confidential resource line to help people get the support, treatment or hope that they’re looking for.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com