Super Bowl Gambling – Hardly Harmless Fun

Super Bowl 48 brings the big game to the rugged winter weather of the northeast as MetLife Stadium plays host to February 2nds Championship Game. Super Bowl 48 also brings headlines of Payton Manning’s legacy, Richard Sherman’s outbursts and a match up for the ages as the NFL’S best offensive and best defensive teams square off. Millions of people will engage in this social event and spend time at parties across the country.  However, Super Bowl Sunday is also one of the largest social gambling events in the nation. Online sources are pointing to this year’s Super Bowl as having an estimated $10 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, and on unusual outcomes, known as prop bets.  These prop bets are generally for some ridiculous situations.  The USA Today provides some examples:

What kind of hat will Bruno Mars wear during the halftime show?

Who will be seen on TV first Pam Oliver or Erin Andrews

Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the anthem

Will the power go out during the game?

Will announcers say the word “marijuana?”

Obviously these Super Bowl bets range from straightforward to ridiculous, but are they just for fun or harmful? The Morning Sentinel article reported that Guy Cousins, acting director of Maine Office of Substance Abuse, estimates 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.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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