Illegal sports betting is a huge industry in this country. CNBC estimates that 80-100 billion dollars is bet on NFL football, 6-10 billion dollars on the Super bowl, 60-70 billion on college football, 50 billion on college basketball and 6-12 billion on March Madness.
Sports betting is a big problem for compulsive gamblers. Compulsive gambling is deemed an impulse control disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Something as simple as reading the lines can often trigger a gambling binge. Some recovering gamblers cannot even buy a newspaper because of the anxiety it causes. Recovery from a gambling problem entails not testing or tempting oneself, for many gamblers the published betting lines become such a temptation.
March 6-12, 2011 is National Problem Gambling Awareness week, a grassroots program designed to create public awareness about the dangers and ramifications of compulsive gambling. Our focus this year is on sports gambling. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for newspapers to do something to different during the week? Something that newspapers and other publications can do to help problem gamblers is share an important message alongside point spreads and other sports betting-related information: “Need help for a gambling problem? Call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-522-4700”. The media, in some way, entices people to gamble, how about some responsible gambling messages from the media during awareness week?
Information provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling for Gambling Awareness week.