February 8, 2024
February 8, 2024

Betting on Your Mental Health

How the ease of online gambling stacks the odds against you.

by
Counslr
Download Resource

The thrill of rolling the dice, playing the lottery, or making a friendly wager on your favorite sports team can be a fun and exciting form of entertainment. In fact, the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII is shaping up to be the largest betting bonanza for American sports fans ever: the American Gaming Association estimates that a record 50.4 million people in the US will bet on the big game, with over $1.3 billion risked in total. Thanks to the rising legalization of sports betting throughout the country—it is now legal in 38 states—combined with the unparalleled convenience, accessibility, and anonymity of online gambling platforms, a perfect storm has been created. Problem gambling is now on the rise, especially among younger populations, including college students and underage minors.

Perhaps it’s the immersive experience of online gambling platforms, with dazzling graphics and hard-to-resist offers of bonus bets and instant credit, that make it even more enticing. Indeed, in just a few clicks, players can deposit funds into their accounts and continue playing without the tangible exchange of cash. The seamless and “painless” nature of these transactions can lead to a dissociation between the money being spent and its real-world value. This detachment can easily contribute to reckless spending and increased financial losses, pushing individuals deeper into the cycle of problem gambling.

In the coming days, as the hypercharged atmosphere of the Super Bowl approaches, the stakes are high not only on the field but also in the world of advertising. Big brands, including sports betting apps, take center stage and vie for the viewer’s attention through captivating commercials. In fact, in its first Super Bowl campaign, sports betting platform FanDuel is turning a commercial into a bet with Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL Pro Bowler Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. The strategic activation expands the brand’s audience beyond football fans by appealing to any of the hundreds of millions of people tuning in to the Super Bowl.

Harmless Fun? Or a Tough-to-Treat Problem?

Gambling addiction is a disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and it is described as an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Yet, people who don’t meet all the criteria for a clinical diagnosis can still struggle with gambling and suffer. Problem gambling can affect your relationships, your career, your mental and physical health, and leave you in financial ruin.

How can you tell if you or someone else’s gambling hobby has become a problem? Some signs and symptoms of a gambling problem include:

  • Prioritizing gambling over other things in life, such as spending time with family, friends, other leisure activities or work.
  • Feeling the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill, and often betting more than you can afford.
  • Feeling anxious, stressed, restless, or irritable about gambling.
  • Gambling to escape problems or to relieve difficult feelings.
  • Engaging in the vicious cycle of trying to get back lost money by gambling more.
  • Lying to friends and family about your gambling.
  • Risking or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling.
  • Finding yourself lying about “where the money went” or why you are unable to pay other bills.

Tips for Managing a True Addiction that Requires Intervention

Gambling is similar to many other addictions. It can gradually creep up on its victims, grab hold, and then not let go; it simply will not go away on its own and must be treated directly. The good news is, like many behavioral issues, gambling problems can be resolved by breaking the cycle and forming new and healthier habits.

Here are some tips to manage gambling and seek support for yourself or someone you know:

  • Try to find educational and support programs who help individuals and groups at increased risk help many gamblers. They exist all over the country. Some people benefit from 12-step programs and other support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Explore other activities that provide a high level of fun and excitement. Traveling domestically or internationally, taking up a new hobby, or training for an athletic competition (such as a marathon) might provide a much healthier “thrill.”
  • Avoid high-risk situations and triggers such as casinos and sportsbook apps on your phone. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or credit cards.
  • Find healthy alternatives for when you’re feeling low, such as exercise, mindfulness, and meditation practice. These can have a lasting, positive effect and thus minimize the urge to gamble. Such practices have many other mental and physical benefits, too.
  • Seek out and interact with non-gamblers as much as possible. Finding common activities and hobbies may shift the focus to healthier and more enjoyable interests and pursuits, and they also lead to lasting, supportive friendships.
  • Take care of your overall physical wellbeing. Resistance and impulse control plummet when we are eating poorly, drinking too much, or not getting enough sleep. It is easier to confront a problem when one is in optimal physical health.

You can also try using online resources for support. Digital interventions are highly accessible and can make a notable impact. For instance, digital applications like Counslr are increasing access to support for people struggling with issues such as gambling. In fact, a recent review of research about gambling disorder treatment concluded that “internet-based interventions are a promising direction for treatment and prevention of problem gambling, particularly in reducing barriers to accessing professional help.” Other applications, like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer, are great for practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Wrapping Up

As America looks forward to the biggest sports event of the year, which is being held in one of the most popular casino cities in the world, it's crucial to remember that excessive gambling can have detrimental effects on mental health. This is a cautionary reminder to approach such activities with mindfulness and moderation. You can still have fun without financial ruin!

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline any time by calling 1-800-GAMBLER, texting 800GAM, or starting a chat session at ncpgambling.org/chat.

February 8, 2024
February 8, 2024

Betting on Your Mental Health

by
Counslr

Type your email to download

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The thrill of rolling the dice, playing the lottery, or making a friendly wager on your favorite sports team can be a fun and exciting form of entertainment. In fact, the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII is shaping up to be the largest betting bonanza for American sports fans ever: the American Gaming Association estimates that a record 50.4 million people in the US will bet on the big game, with over $1.3 billion risked in total. Thanks to the rising legalization of sports betting throughout the country—it is now legal in 38 states—combined with the unparalleled convenience, accessibility, and anonymity of online gambling platforms, a perfect storm has been created. Problem gambling is now on the rise, especially among younger populations, including college students and underage minors.

Perhaps it’s the immersive experience of online gambling platforms, with dazzling graphics and hard-to-resist offers of bonus bets and instant credit, that make it even more enticing. Indeed, in just a few clicks, players can deposit funds into their accounts and continue playing without the tangible exchange of cash. The seamless and “painless” nature of these transactions can lead to a dissociation between the money being spent and its real-world value. This detachment can easily contribute to reckless spending and increased financial losses, pushing individuals deeper into the cycle of problem gambling.

In the coming days, as the hypercharged atmosphere of the Super Bowl approaches, the stakes are high not only on the field but also in the world of advertising. Big brands, including sports betting apps, take center stage and vie for the viewer’s attention through captivating commercials. In fact, in its first Super Bowl campaign, sports betting platform FanDuel is turning a commercial into a bet with Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL Pro Bowler Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. The strategic activation expands the brand’s audience beyond football fans by appealing to any of the hundreds of millions of people tuning in to the Super Bowl.

Harmless Fun? Or a Tough-to-Treat Problem?

Gambling addiction is a disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and it is described as an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Yet, people who don’t meet all the criteria for a clinical diagnosis can still struggle with gambling and suffer. Problem gambling can affect your relationships, your career, your mental and physical health, and leave you in financial ruin.

How can you tell if you or someone else’s gambling hobby has become a problem? Some signs and symptoms of a gambling problem include:

  • Prioritizing gambling over other things in life, such as spending time with family, friends, other leisure activities or work.
  • Feeling the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill, and often betting more than you can afford.
  • Feeling anxious, stressed, restless, or irritable about gambling.
  • Gambling to escape problems or to relieve difficult feelings.
  • Engaging in the vicious cycle of trying to get back lost money by gambling more.
  • Lying to friends and family about your gambling.
  • Risking or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling.
  • Finding yourself lying about “where the money went” or why you are unable to pay other bills.

Tips for Managing a True Addiction that Requires Intervention

Gambling is similar to many other addictions. It can gradually creep up on its victims, grab hold, and then not let go; it simply will not go away on its own and must be treated directly. The good news is, like many behavioral issues, gambling problems can be resolved by breaking the cycle and forming new and healthier habits.

Here are some tips to manage gambling and seek support for yourself or someone you know:

  • Try to find educational and support programs who help individuals and groups at increased risk help many gamblers. They exist all over the country. Some people benefit from 12-step programs and other support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Explore other activities that provide a high level of fun and excitement. Traveling domestically or internationally, taking up a new hobby, or training for an athletic competition (such as a marathon) might provide a much healthier “thrill.”
  • Avoid high-risk situations and triggers such as casinos and sportsbook apps on your phone. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or credit cards.
  • Find healthy alternatives for when you’re feeling low, such as exercise, mindfulness, and meditation practice. These can have a lasting, positive effect and thus minimize the urge to gamble. Such practices have many other mental and physical benefits, too.
  • Seek out and interact with non-gamblers as much as possible. Finding common activities and hobbies may shift the focus to healthier and more enjoyable interests and pursuits, and they also lead to lasting, supportive friendships.
  • Take care of your overall physical wellbeing. Resistance and impulse control plummet when we are eating poorly, drinking too much, or not getting enough sleep. It is easier to confront a problem when one is in optimal physical health.

You can also try using online resources for support. Digital interventions are highly accessible and can make a notable impact. For instance, digital applications like Counslr are increasing access to support for people struggling with issues such as gambling. In fact, a recent review of research about gambling disorder treatment concluded that “internet-based interventions are a promising direction for treatment and prevention of problem gambling, particularly in reducing barriers to accessing professional help.” Other applications, like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer, are great for practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Wrapping Up

As America looks forward to the biggest sports event of the year, which is being held in one of the most popular casino cities in the world, it's crucial to remember that excessive gambling can have detrimental effects on mental health. This is a cautionary reminder to approach such activities with mindfulness and moderation. You can still have fun without financial ruin!

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline any time by calling 1-800-GAMBLER, texting 800GAM, or starting a chat session at ncpgambling.org/chat.

Input your email to download

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.