The recent boom in sports betting has fueled an increase in inquiries to the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network. Last year, the helpline received 270,000 calls, texts, and chats. Among those calling the hotline is Vin Bickler, who had a gambling problem before and now answers the helpline for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.
Sports gambling was once taboo, but a recent Supreme Court decision allowed for state-by-state legalization of the practice. Professional leagues have embraced the new source of revenue and betting advertisements are now commonplace. The advent of sports betting apps has made the process easy and convenient, but newcomers need to know that these tools can also be addictive.
While the Supreme Court ruling has limited federal regulations of sports betting, states regulate sportsbooks and give them latitude to advertise their products. As a result, there is little oversight of the industry, which has alarmed advocates and parents. The lack of regulation means that advertisers may not be telling the truth to consumers and could cause problem gambling.