Super Bowl Sunday brings about lots of excitement with the electricity of stats and facts, and a perfect season riding on the line. But a lesser-known fact is that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the largest social gambling events in the nation. The Morning Sentinel points to the 2007 Super Bowl as having an estimated $8 billion in wagers placed on its outcome. This flashy, center-stage event brings out several “social” gamblers, some of whom consider placing little bets here and there harmless. The article explains that experts have information to the contrary.
Guy Cousins, acting director of Maine Office of Substance Abuse, is referenced as estimating that 3 to 5 percent of those who participate in wagering will become problem gamblers. Another expert mentioned, Lee Thompson, president of the Maine Council on Problem Gambling explained, “We’ve seen an increase in the calls from Maine to the Nation Council on Problem Gambling hotline, from eight calls a month in 2003 to over 100 a month in 2006.”
It appears that the glitzy glam of the Super Bowl attracts people to make social wagers, a harmless bit of fun in their mind. But the dollar amount waged on the Super Bowl climbs each year, as does the number of problem gamblers. The Super Bowl garners over three times the amount wagered on NCAA basketball’s March Madness.
Is this a harmless Sunday addition to one of America’s most popular day of sports? The numbers show it only to be a growing problem.