March Madness is here! This popular past time is an event many college basketball fans look forward to as the season progresses. There are online courses devoted to the art of picking the perfect bracket, as well as, many different strategy conspiracies. While we’re all pretty educated as to what exactly March Madness entails, some don’t always have as much knowledge about the event’s classification as gambling.
Gambling is simply wagering anything of value on an event that has an uncertain outcome. According to a study done by Professor Jonathon Mattingly of Duke University, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion, a very uncertain outcome indeed. Despite these odds, millions of Americans will still wager in hopes of their bracket being the perfect one. There will be several billion dollars spent in the United States during this event and very few winners.
So, does this mean that wagering money on March Madness is dangerous? Not necessarily. The key to gambling is keeping it low-risk. Low-risk gambling means only playing with money set aside for entertainment that you might have used on an activity like a night out at the movies. While it is a lot of fun to win, it’s important to play only for fun and to not rely on winning. Even in the heat of bracket season, it’s a good idea to balance gambling with other healthy activities like reading, running, or even changing the channel. Most importantly know everyone loses overtime. While it would be wonderful if everyone could be the one in 9.2 quintillion, it’s simply implausible.
A sign that things may be getting problematic would be betting more than one can afford. Even gambling to escape life’s stressors, or neglecting work, family, or friends to gamble can be a sign that an individual needs help. Chasing money lost due to gambling would be considered a red flag. If you’re concerned about your gambling or someone else call the Ohio Gambling Helpline where free confidential support is available 1 (800) 589-9966 or visit playitsafeohio.org for more information.
According to the NCAA, the odds are much better of a High School Senior basketball player being drafted to the NBA, one in 3,333, and the odds of knowing one are better yet. So remember to cheer on your local student athletes, and who knows, you may just end up having ties to the next LeBron.
Tristyn Eppley, OCPS I, CDCA
Prevention Coordinator, Envision Partnerships
Treasurer, PGNO Board of Directors