NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Tennesseans have been allowed to legally place bets on sporting events online for nearly a week. It’s one of the handful of ways people are allowed to gamble in the state as a form of entertainment.
Many online sports betting apps will give warnings or alerts to users making frequent bets, but health experts tell NEWS4 it is easy to fall into the trap that becomes addiction.
“We call it a hidden addiction,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director for the National Council on Problem Gambling.
The NCPG works closely with states and businesses that allow gambling. Online sports betting, which is only allowed in a handful of states now including Tennessee is exploding, largely because you can do it on your phone.
“And the term of ours is responsible gambling,” said Whyte.
Whyte told NEWS4, the NCPG while isn’t against gambling, provides help for those who fall into the addiction cycle.
“If you can’t stick to the limits of time and money that you set for yourself gambling that’s a sign of a problem,” said Whyte.
Whyte said gambling addiction looks very similar to other kinds of addiction like substance abuse; the need for money, separation from loved ones, in some cases people trying to break the addiction can experience physical withdrawals.
“We know people with severe gambling problems have some of the highest rates of suicidal behavior of any of the other addictive disorders,” explained Whyte.
He said while there may be skill in betting on sporting events, knowing the statistics to potentially win, it is still largely chance. He warns online sports betting should not be used to make a living and believing so could be signs of an addiction.
“It is not just bad behavior its not just someone who spends a little money once or twice,” said Whyte.
Whyte also explained part of the revenue made in Tennessee from gambling and betting, about 5%, goes back into funding assistance for people getting addicted to gambling.
Learn more about the National Council on Problem Gambling by clicking here.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, the National Problem Gambling Hotline is available to call or text at 1-800-522-4700
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