The ‘hidden’ addiction: Problems and solutions regarding sports gambling

Local News

About 26 million people are expected to place a bet on the Super Bowl, 90% of which will not be at risk for a gambling addiction

(WKBN) – The final game of the football season is always the most interesting. It’s also the game that receives the most bets, like an office pool or a wager with a friend. We talked with a local expert about keeping that simple wager from becoming a problem.

Sports betting is more available and accessible than ever with daily fantasy sports, legal sports betting and those who do it illegally.

“What we do know is 90,000 Ohioans do have a problem with gambling,” said Stephanie Geer, a gambling addiction specialist.

Geer talks with people when they seek help for a gambling problem. She says all gamblers, young or old, begin the same way.

“It always starts out as a form of entertainment. But, for some people based upon vulnerabilities, biology, all of that stuff, may develop an addiction to it, just like drugs or alcohol,” she said.

There are warning signs for people who might have a sports gambling problem. They include exaggerating wins, minimizing losses, conflicts within relationships, even being secretive about gambling.

It’s known as the hidden addiction because it’s so easy to hide and gamblers may live a fantasy life.

“Even if I’m destroying my life and I know am, ‘but wait a minute, I know my next big win is gonna come. I’m gonna win. It’s all gonna be OK.’ That train of thought continues all the way to that bottom,” Geer said.

About 26 million people are expected to place a bet on the Super Bowl. For 90% of them, they’re not at risk for a gambling addiction.

“But a way to keep it fun is to budget it. It’s a form of entertainment. If you want to participate in sports betting, set a limit with it,” Geer said.

There are resources in place if you have a problem with sports gambling or maybe even buying too many lottery scratch-off tickets.

On www.BeforeYouBet.org, you can take a quiz to see if you have a problem with gambling. You can even have a live chat with someone and learn ways to gamble responsibly.

You can also call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.

Plus, you can receive consultations or assessments at Meridian HealthCare.

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