With this year’s Super Bowl, billions of Americans placed wagers on the league’s championship game. As far as Wisconsinites are concerned, the options are rather limited, since online sports betting is not authorized by state laws and there are two tribal retail casinos where the popular pastime can be enjoyed legally, according to information from the American Gaming Association’s webpage. Residents of the Badger State, especially young ones, are, nevertheless, finding ways to circumnavigate the legislation and participate in the betting action.
In an interview with WMTV15news, Doug LaBelle, certified gambling counselor and trainer for the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, boasting a wealth of experience in the sphere of behavioral health disorders, shared insights into problem gambling.
As the expert explained, it is not gambling in and of itself that is a worrying phenomenon in society, but rather problem gambling is a reason for concern. Problem gambling occurs when the amount of time and money spent on gambling exceeds expectations, according to gambling experts.
The most recent data on problem gambling in the US points to 1% to 3% of problem gamblers nationwide. However, as far as the teen population is concerned, this percentage increases to, anywhere between 4% and 6%, according to the gambling expert.
As Mr. LaBelle explained, the Super Bowl is a big time of the year that can be especially hard for people experiencing gambling addiction. He went on to explain that when he started his practice, the only way to conduct online research of any kind was via a personal computer. With the advance of technology and the ever-increasing popularity of sports betting via mobile devices the ability of people to gamble “has dramatically changed”.
The certified gambling counselor and trainer further added that the lack of control and the inability to stop are in line with typical problem gambling behavior. The most disturbing of all, however, was the fact that young individuals fell victim to this type of disorder most commonly, with 4% to 6% of the teen population who are considered to be compulsive gamblers.
Gambling Disorders Can Be Related to Family History, According to LaBelle
Mr. LaBelle also clarified that problem gambling behavior tended to be associated with family history and predisposition to such type of behavioral disorder. “There is a genetic connection, and it is not a choice, it is a brain function disorder.”
The gambling counselor explained that while online sports betting in Wisconsin was not legal, there were ways to circumvent legislation. He shared he was amazed by the great number of young people who were aware of offshore gambling. The youth are signing up to offshore sports betting operators to wager on their favorite sports and leagues, even though that is illegal, as per Wisconsin’s laws.
In conclusion, LaBelle impelled everyone to gamble responsibly, stick to their limits, and reach out for help, when needed.