Athletes, movie stars, and millionaires are all fond of sports betting, but whooping cough and other less famous ailments are the true epidemic of the sports betting world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly two million people around the world are forced to bet their health every year because they cannot afford medical treatment. Due to a lack of effective treatment alternatives, they are often forced to bet on sporting events to save their lives. The WHO adds that this form of wagering makes them easy prey for drug dealers, loan sharks, and other types of financial opportunists.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there is currently no cure for sufferers of a gambling addiction. However, they add that there are ways to mitigate the adverse effects of this habit on an individual’s life. They recommend that those who want to quit should discuss their goals with professional help, and then gradually reduce their wagering activity until they can control their addiction. The CDC states that the majority of those who suffer from this illness will eventually lose their jobs, their families, and even their homes because of their betting addiction. They also note that children of parents who are gamblers are more likely to become addicts themselves because they see their parents as role models who are constantly at risk of losing money. This can cause serious damage to family relationships.
How Are Gamblers Diagnosed?
The CDC does not offer a diagnostic tool for identifying people who are prone to gambling addiction, but they do list the following symptoms:
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Thrilling experiences when gambling
- Continued gambling even when there is no apparent financial gain
- Gambling involving more than one session per day
- Increased tolerance for gambling
- Frequently losing at gambling
- Experiencing anxiety when trying to quit gambling
- Difficulty relaxing when bored or anxious
- Feeling restless, discontented, or depressed when unable to gamble
- Experiencing physical symptoms related to gambling
- Procrastinating or avoiding household chores because of gambling
- Lying to cover up gambling activities
- A pattern of irresponsible spending as a result of gambling
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate that someone is suffering from a gambling addiction, but they are all risk factors that could potentially point to an addiction problem. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, then it might be time to seek help.
How is Sports Betting Different from Other Forms of Gambling?
One of the major differences between sports betting and other forms of gambling is that sports betting does not involve winning or losing money. Therefore, it is perceived as less harmful by society. Online betting shops, for example, do not require customers to actually use their credit cards, enabling them to accept wagers from anywhere in the world. This has made online betting an ideal way to enjoy gambling while still being able to help fund your hobbies and some savings.
Sports betting also takes place within the confines of sports grounds and regulated sportsbooks. Gamblers can place bets on the various sports games that are being played, but they are not allowed to interfere with the sport itself. For instance, gamblers are not allowed to put money on a basketball game and tell the players which team they should be supporting. This would be considered sports betting, and it is typically prohibited at all venues across the world.
While the majority of those who gamble do so for excitement or enjoyment, studies show that sports betting tends to be more of a compulsion. The WHO reports that people who suffer from this tendency are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems related to their addictions. However, they also note that this form of wagering can be a way for people to relax and take their minds off their problems for a while. It is often the case that people who are clinically depressed develop an interest in sports because it provides them with a distraction from their daily stressors. In most instances, this interest will then turn into a full-blown addiction once they find that they can get away with it and that it offers them a sense of temporary relief from their problems. In such cases, it is often difficult for the people around them to understand why they are unable to control their impulses and how much it hurts those closest to them. It is a self-destructive behavior that can often result in financial ruin and personal tragedy.
Where Do People Meet to Bet?
It is not unusual for people who are interested in sports betting to meet in bars and clubs to socialize, become acquainted with new people, and make profitable wagers. It is also common for those who meet at these social locations to become addicted themselves and then seek treatment to overcome their problems. Bars and clubs are ideal places for people to gamble because they often provide the anonymity needed by those who wish to remain incognito while also being able to place wagers. This is important because if others find out that you are betting, they might try to prevent you from participating in this activity or even tell you to stop. Bars and clubs also provide the social environments where people can meet and form connections that could help them when they are trying to overcome their addictions. Online betting markets and forums are similar to bars and clubs in that they allow for discreet betting, but they also provide additional anonymity by being open to the public. Places like BetNow allow anyone to place bets and interact with others who are also interested in this activity, but they also provide an additional level of privacy by requiring users to use their real names when placing bets.
Although it might be tempting to keep your addiction a secret and stay away from social locations where you could possibly meet someone who knows your identity, it is not recommended that you do so. The main reason being that if you do not want anyone to know about your interest in sports betting, then the best thing for you is to get help and get treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to overcome your addiction and the fewer chances you will have of relapsing. In some cases, people have gotten into trouble with the law because they did not want to get help for their addiction, so by keeping quiet about it, you are putting yourself at risk of being prosecuted and convicted of a crime.
How Many People are Addicted to Sports Betting?
According to the WHO, nearly two million people globally are diagnosed with a gambling addiction. This is roughly 0.7% of the world’s population. In the U.S., the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that 3.9% of the population is addicted to gambling. The NIMH states that this percentage could rise to as much as 7% if more people are willing to admit to having a problem.
This is quite a large number of people who are unable to control their impulses and who suffer from serious psychological and social problems because of their addiction. It would be safe to assume that this figure does not include people who are simply engaging in occasional sports betting or those who choose to play at casinos where money is not involved. To put this into perspective, the NIMH reports that there are currently 26.9 million adult Americans, which means that 4.3% of the U.S. population is addicted to some form of gambling. This makes sports betting the second most popular form of gambling behind only online poker among U.S. citizens. About half of those who are addicted to poker are also interested in sports betting. This should come as no surprise since many of the world’s wealthiest and most high-profile people are also major fans of sports teams and competitions. It is only natural that people with money would want to take advantage of the fact that sports provide them with a way to engage in gambling while also being able to fund their favorite teams and athletes. This is why sports betting has become so popular amongst the ultra-wealthy and why more and more people are turning to online betting shops to satisfy their need for excitement and enjoyment.