Nationwide increase in gambling disorders following legalization of sports betting

As Super Bowl 58 approaches, the excitement is palpable, and so are the bets. With an estimated 26% of Americans set to wager on the big game, it’s clear that sports betting has become more popular than ever before. However, this sudden surge in interest has also contributed to a rise in gambling addiction across the country, causing concern among health professionals.

In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was buzzing with anticipation as people like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “I came here to have a beer and a shot just to loosen up before the festivities begin,” said Burns on Sunday. And while he may not be part of the growing number of individuals struggling with gambling addiction, others certainly are.

According to Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings, approximately 1% of the population is believed to have a gambling disorder – or about 3.4 million Americans. This number is concerning given that mobile platforms have made it easier than ever before to place bets, often incentivizing individuals to start making wagers. “Montana has followed this national trend over the past couple of years with setting records each year for revenue collected from gambling,” said Perdue.

While some experts can only glean data from the past five years since sports betting was legalized in 2019, they remain concerned about its potential impact on mental health. “It’s an area of concern for us to monitor and see how things play out,” said Perdue. But for Burns and other individuals who enjoy sports betting as a fun way to pass time during football games or other events, it’s all about responsible decision-making and setting boundaries – like only placing bets when you can afford to lose them and taking breaks when you feel yourself getting too caught up in the action.

By Editor

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