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Online Sports Betting Study Raises Problem Gambling Concerns

Many Americans believe gambling, including sports betting, is a bad bet for society. A new online study might just be backing up that notion. Researchers polled more than 3000 US adults to gauge their participation in online sports gambling and their opinions on the industry. The poll reported numerous alarming data points. One such point is that 65% of people polled believe that online sports betting will create compulsive gamblers. The poll also found that nearly 40% wagered more than they should have. Another 18% said they lost money betting on sports that they needed for financial obligations.

Maybe even just as important, about 4 in 10 bettors said they’ve felt shame about their online wagering. The guilt, and what it might do to a person, could have major consequences down the road. More than half of bettors chased a loss. Chasing a loss is when you double your next bet to try and win back the money you lost on the previous bet. Almost a quarter of bettors said that someone expressed worry about their betting. This could be a family member, a friend, or anyone else. And 20% said they lied to someone about their sports betting.

Despite the worrying findings, only about 9% of the sports bettors polled had called a problem gambling helpline or sought treatment through other sources. Not surprisingly, over 60% said the federal government should aggressively regulate online sports betting to specifically protect customers from compulsive gambling. The poll found that 39% of adults had bet on sports. It also found that 19% have an online sports betting account. About twice as many men have an online sports betting account compared to women.

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