The National Council on Problem Gambling has reasserted the necessity for the public and private sector to implement policies and invest the resources to strengthen responsible gambling, as Super Bowl fever grips the US.
With the NFL showpiece between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers looming on the horizon, the Washington DC-based non-profit urged that more planning is needed as sports betting becomes ever more accessible.
Through its ‘Keep Your Super Bowl Safer’ message and safer sports netting initiative, the NCPG is calling on individuals, public health agencies, sports betting operators and media outlets to be aware of and promote three key ‘tips’.
These, it says, are to set specific limits on the time and money spent gambling; seek help to manage negative feelings that can fuel addiction; and recognise gambling is inherently an activity with long-term losses, due to house advantage and chance.
“Unfortunately, NCPG expects the number of people with gambling problems to grow with each passing year, because both the amount of money and the number of people who bet on sports grows with each passing year,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director.
The NCPG’s National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Experiences found that sports bettors were at least twice as likely to have gambling problems, with its estimations suggesting that at least 25m Americans will bet a total of almost $7bn dollars on the Super Bowl.
The group says that it is “working aggressively with its allies” to strengthen the responsible gambling experience for consumers and make treatment options more widely available, affordable and accessible.
Whyte added: “We want everyone to enjoy the Super Bowl, but we also want people to recognise the challenges that come with the rapid expansion of sports betting—especially on mobile phones.
“If you are placing a wager on the big game, we urge you to follow our tips, and if you are struggling with a gambling problem, we urge you to seek free, confidential help. That is available 24/7 through the National Problem Gambling Helpline. Call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat.”