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Sports betting is leading to a sharp increase in gambling addictions and financial hardship, especially among young men

Sports betting is now fully legal in 36 states, and betting on your favorite team is easier than ever with apps on phones and computers. But the rise in sports betting corresponds with a sharp rise in gambling addiction and subsequent financial distress.

Governments are seduced by the rise in sports betting because it brings in billions in new tax revenue. Sports betting is one of the biggest new tax revenue boons that many states have seen in decades.

Since Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association Supreme Court ruling, nearly half of the states rushed headlong into sports betting, and those early birds raked in billions in revenue.

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Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are the top states for sports betting tax revenue. As Breitbart News reported in 2021, Nevada collected over $61 million in taxes in 2020, while New Jersey collected $118 million. Pennsylvania reaped the biggest reward with an additional $124 million in new taxes. And these numbers are only increasing. By March 2023for example, New Jersey had already earned $72.3 million in tax revenue, New York $209 million, and Pennsylvania $58 million.

According to Roundhill Investments, Americans placed more than $93 billion in legal sports bets in 2022 alone.

A large part of these bets were made on sports applications:

But with this increase in sports gambling comes serious problems among players. As Newsweek the magazine recently noted, calls to gambling hotlines have skyrocketed.

“In 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available), calls to the helpline run by the National Council on Problem Gambling, a group supported by the gambling industry, increased by 43 %, while text messages increased by 59% and chats jumped by 84%,” the magazine recently reported.

Newsweek also looked at other gambling addiction data and found a troubling trend:

In Connecticut, for example, calls to the hotline jumped 91% in the first year after legalization; in Massachusetts, calls have increased by 276% since 2020; in Ohio, which just opened the door to legal sports betting in January, calls to the state’s problem gambling hotline tripled in the first month alone compared to the same time last year ; in the first year after sports betting was legalized in Virginia, calls soared 387%; in Illinois, calls increased by 425% between 2020 and 2022.

It also appears that young men are the hardest hit by gambling addiction problems.

The fastest growing group of sports bettors – and those who seem to be in the most trouble – tend to be people in their twenties, spurred on by easy phone access and ubiquitous advertising. Young men, who are the primary target audience for sports betting companies, are the most vulnerable. “We believe that overall gambling addiction risk increased by 30% from 2018 to 2021, with risk concentrated in young males aged 18 to 24 who are sports bettors,” said Keith Whyte, director executive of the National Council on Problem Gambling, in an interview with Pew Research last year.

The physiology of young adults, which is still a work in progress, adds to the risk of sports betting becoming problematic for them. According to Pamela Brenner-Davis, Team Leader of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, “Young people, especially those under 25, still have underdeveloped brains that make them prone to addiction, especially gambling. gambling addiction.

Addiction increases depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, and gamblers plunge into a personal hell that can devastate their lives.

The magazine added that other countries, including the UK and Australia, got into sports apps long before the US already started enacting restrictions after seeing a huge rise in addiction. gambling. The UK, for example, recently noted that they see 400 gambling-related suicides a year, and some 55,000 drug addicts are young men aged 11-16.

Newsweek added that the age range is also shrinking among male gambling addicts in the United States.

Similar to states where online sports betting is legal, the Florida Council found that most callers who reported gambling online were male (86%) and the most common type of gambling for them was sports. (55%). He also found that callers were getting younger, noting a 56% increase in players aged 25 or younger. More worryingly, “this year’s data reveals higher levels of anxiety (62%), depression (63%) and neurological disorders (20%) reported compared to data from the helpline. last year. It should be noted that almost a quarter (24%) disclosed suicidal thoughts or attempts by the player, representing a 50% increase from the previous financial year.

Few of the states that have rushed to get their hands on new tax revenue have taken much time to think about the impact widespread gambling would have on their populations. And as the side effects begin to show, it will only get worse.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston

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