Sportsbook ads are a losing proposition for compulsive gamblers

The tagline makes the solution sound so simple: “Gamble responsibly.”

For those who struggle with compulsive gambling, it’s anything but simple. Instead, the footnote caps a powerful temptation as ads for sports betting emerge in states that have recently legalized an activity once banned in most of the United States.

Sharon, a 39-year-old homemaker, decided with her husband to move from New Jersey to New York specifically to get away from legalized sports betting, but still sees ads frequently that remind her of the tens of thousands of dollars in debt she racked up on a wagering app.

Charlie, an information technology professional from suburban Philadelphia, says the advertisements and easy access make wagering “tempting as hell,” even as his losses mounted to $400,000 as he bet online while traveling on service calls.

They've complicated addiction recovery for Gary, a real estate agent from New Jersey who attends support group meetings and has lost nearly $2 million over a lifetime of gambling.

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