NCPG survey warns that sports bettors exhibit more ‘problematic play’

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The National Council on Problem Gambling has warned that sports betting appears to come with a higher risk of problematic play than most other forms of gambling, after releasing ‘National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences 1.0’ study.

However, it is noted that a number of unknowns are still prevalent in this area, such as the extent to which it is being driven by the widespread availability of illegal, unregulated play.

The non-profit’s largest research project to date, comprising more than 28,000 respondents, was conducted independently by Ipsos and sponsored by Entain, and suggests that sports bettors exhibit far more “problematic play” indicators than non-sports bettors. These include indicators such as ‘lied to hide gambling’ and ‘relied on others to pay debts or bills.’  

It is further alerted that young adults are at greater risk of problematic play than any other demographic segment, but asserts that “there is no evidence that the risks of problematic gambling are affected by socio-economic status or by racial or ethnic background”.

“We hope the new reports spur the public and private sectors to redouble their efforts to implement policies and allocate resources to create a safer gambling environment, as well as assist those who show signs of gambling addiction or are in recovery,” commented Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director

“While organisations like the National Council on Problem Gambling will use this data to help make those goals a reality, any entity that interacts with the gambling industry will benefit from better understanding public sentiment about gambling as America undergoes an unprecedented amount of gambling expansion, especially sports betting.”

Key findings from the study show that three in four American adults report some type of gambling in the year preceding the survey, with 12 per cent claiming to never have gambled.

The lottery is shown to be the most popular form of gambling, with two out of three survey respondents reporting a past year purchase, with the average US gambler also indicating betting on three different activities.

Legal prohibitions or restrictions also have minimal effect on gambling participation, says the NCPG. A lack of understand is also cited in reporting that 16 per cent believe that gambling is a good way to make money.

Furthermore, it is suggested that young adults appear to be at “higher risk for gambling problems,” with half of those under 35 said to have responded ‘yes’ to at least one indicator of risky behaviour. By contrast, only 10 per cent of gamblers over the age of 65 demonstrated similar traits. 

“NCPG is to be commended for undertaking this enormous research project,” added Robert Jacobson, president of the NCPG board of directors and executive director of the California Council on Problem Gambling

“There is no need to make assumptions or rely on much smaller studies anymore. The State Reports are especially important – whether you are an operator, regulator or health provider – since all decision-making for the gambling industry resides at the state level, and health providers address local needs.”