Sports betting, like all kinds of gambling, is best experienced as entertainment. However, some people unfortunately lose control and veer from entertainment into problem gambling and suffer serious negative consequences. Often their families suffer as a result as well. Problem gambling is also known as compulsive gambling and pathological gambling.
The prevalence rate of problem gambling in adults in the United States is somewhere between 2.2% and 2.6% percent of the population, while approximately 1% of the adult U.S population has a “severe” gambling problem, according to figures from the National Council on Problem Gambling, National Center for Responsible Gaming and the North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction. Statistically, younger people and young adults are impacted at a higher rate than other groups.
Regulated gaming — and pertinent here — regulated sports betting, is safer than gambling occurring in unchecked/unregulated markets. State regulators require licensed operators to devote certain resources to problem gambling and take greater measures to prevent customers from engaging in potentially damaging behavior. Of course, compulsive gambling manifests in any market, legal or otherwise.