Fall is here, and with it comes the opening and closing of professional and college sports seasons. The changing of the seasons also brings an opportunity to consider safety as it relates to betting on these and other sports.
The Supreme Court’s decision in May to overturn an existing ban on sports betting will allow the more than 118 million Americans who gamble on sports to wager–legally. The broad popularity of daily fantasy sports and the availability of mobile technology for gaming or wagering translate into a constant ability to bet on sports. In a 2017 U.S. consumer survey, 45% of respondents explained their wagering behavior as a way to make sports more interesting. Other reasons given included a desire to compete with other sports fans, or to feel the excitement betting brings, and its sense of risk. Among college students and athletes, sports betting as a form of gambling is second in popularity only to poker.
About 2 or 3% of Americans meet the criteria for a gambling disorder, characterized by a loss of control over gambling behavior despite negative consequences such as significant financial loss, relationship ruptures, legal problems, and erosion of mental and physical health.