Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the impact the Super Bowl has on the gambling sphere. This year might be the most unique yet, as the amount of states that offer legalized sports betting is at an all time high. An online source explains:
A record-high 117 million people watched the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, to win Super Bowl LVI this past Sunday. But for an unprecedented number of viewers, the focus wasn’t just on football (or even the halftime show and commercials), but on the game’s impact on their wallets.
More than 31 million people are believed to have bet on some aspect of the game, with an estimated $7.6 billion wagered. Both figures are more than double what they were for last year’s Super Bowl.
The expansion of legalized sports betting coincides with the ubiquity of mobile devices, creating unprecedented accessibility to a form of betting that used to be reserved to Las Vegas — or perhaps a visit to a shady bar and the neighborhood bookie. In many states, you don’t need to go to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook to place a bet — you can just reach for your iPhone.
The ease of placing bets is coupled with a deluge of advertising. Companies like FanDuel, MGM and Caesars have spent hundreds of millions of dollars pushing online sports betting in recent years. Sports-betting companies are even able to air commercials during NFL games, as they did during the Super Bowl, after the league not only reversed its long-standing and intense opposition to the practice, but actively partnered with the industry.
Moreover, with unfettered access, those with addictive behavior and gambling problems will be the most at risk. The source continues:
Taken together, these factors make modern sports betting particularly risky, says Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), an organization co-founded 50 years ago by Msgr. Joseph Dunne, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
According to NCPG’s research, the rise of sports betting has coincided with a twofold increase in gambling problems in the U.S. between 2018 and 2021. Whyte points out that these risks aren’t evenly distributed throughout the population, but are mainly concentrated among “young, male online sports bettors.”
“This is not simply innocent fun that people use to make their game-day watching experience more exciting,” MCC’s executive director, Jason Adkins, told the local Catholic newspaper. “This is something that could result in significant detriment to those who already have addictive personalities and gambling problems and to their families. We all suffer when that happens.”
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