Dealing With Problem Gambling During Football Season

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From September to February, Americans rearrange plans and listen for the telltale ding from their phones as millions of TVs across the nation display the latest football games, stats, and highlights. But are people still tuning in for the love of the sport, or has something a little less wholesome overshadowed the seemingly harmless game? 

While this sport often brings people together, it’s important to acknowledge that this season can be challenging for those are struggling with problem gambling and those around them who are concerned for their continued welfare. However, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself and those you love from sneaky traps and trick plays. Keep reading to learn more about the other team’s playbook and what resources are at your disposal when you feel like you could use a little back up. 

The Offensive Line

With the constant stream of betting enticements being placed in every free second of programming, there is a heightened risk for problem gamblers in recovery to fall back into old patterns. Research shows that with more and more states legalizing sports betting, the sports wagering TV ad category has seen a spending increase of 281%, making total ad spend around $282 million this year. This has also led to a higher amount of impressions, up 48% to 18.2 billion viewers in the last year.[1] The wide net cast by these mega campaigns undoubtedly includes people who are suffering from, or at risk for, problem gambling, who are being exposed to messaging that could trigger the development or recurrence of gambling disorder. 

Though sports betting is still not legal in Florida, access to sports betting is still possible, whether by joining a fantasy league with friends or catching a game at a venue while placing live bets on a mobile device. While this type of betting is more and more socially accepted, it can be just as much a temptation and potentially destructive for those who suffer from problem gambling as other types of gambling. In fact, sports bettors were found to be three or more times as likely to report frequent risky behaviors than non-sports bettors.[2]

Running Defense

Don’t worry — we’ve still got the home field advantage. With the right resources and a steady support system, recovering problem gamblers can run from the temptation of placing bets on so-called “sure things.” Help is available 24/7 with the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine, a confidential and multilingual hotline that was designed to help Florida residents find necessary help and local resources, so they can break free from harmful behaviors. Even if you aren’t dealing with these behaviors personally, you can take advantage of this free resource to learn more insights about the disorder and how to identify the stages in loved ones that may be at risk.

While there are things that are out of our control, there are simple steps you can take to improve your circumstances and decrease the likelihood of falling into old behaviors. The path to recovery isn’t static, but you can wake up each day and choose to pursue activities and relationships that benefit your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and financial health.

The best part? You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to the people around you for support when you’re not feeling your best or call 888-ADMIT-IT to get truly impactful assistance. Whether you’re going on a run or grabbing a cup of coffee with an old friend, small steps can lead to positive change. 

Something we’ve seen that’s helped people suffering from gambling problems to overcome the temptation that creeps in during certain scenarios — whether it’s Monday night football or the casino table — is visualizing the life you want for yourself. Curb negative or destructive thoughts as soon as they enter your brain and redirect your mind to the life that’s possible when you take the first step out of problem gambling today. 

To start your recovery journey and begin the healing process, call 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), text (321-978-0555), email (fccg@gamblinghelp.org), live chat (gamblinghelp.org), use the 888-ADMIT-IT App (https://landing.appypie.com/888-admit-it), or reach out on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

  1. iSpot. “Betting on TV Advertising: Sportsbook Brands Expand Reach and Resonance.” ISpottv, 8 June 2022, https://www.ispot.tv/ads/betting-on-tv-advertising-sportsbook-brands-expand-reach-and-resonance/.
  2. “Executive Summary.” National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences, 6 Apr. 2021, https://www.ncpgsurvey.org/executive-summary/.

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