Ever since the commercials started on TV about the sports betting options that you can play from your smartphone, I have been suspicious and worried. It seems the ads encourage you to gamble to your heart’s content by even “giving” yourself some cash to get you started.
The state I live in and the states that carry this column have all gotten into making legal sports gambling games available over the phone using apps. I think it’s a stupid decision – one that will certainly cause a lot of angst in families, marriages or relationships where one party thinks they can play responsibly and the other sees it differently. I’m heartbroken for families where money is tight and a husband or wife – don’t follow the suggestions spelled out in the fine print, “Please play responsibly.”
I really don’t know much about legal gambling online or elsewhere. In the past, we’ve had friends who have said that they like to gamble in a place like Las Vegas just for entertainment, and have said their approach is to set a serious limit on their gambling efforts. $ 50 or $ 40 for an evening of entertainment by betting on certain machines. And they don’t go any further.
But… with money so hard to come by for so many people, I can see how much of a temptation there is to try the easy way out by betting, playing poker, or buying lottery tickets.
The great thing now this season is betting on professional football – which, of course, has been going on since football started, I guess. Ads on TV or elsewhere make it so easy and so tempting – they even give you money for your first bet – and not just $ 1, but maybe $ 100 or more. Which can lead to gambling becoming another addiction like smoking, drinking, or meth – and a huge sinkhole for the already small paycheck.
The worst commercial showed a violent football player (a person of color) entering a man’s house (white) tearing up a wall. It was sickening. Haven’t seen this one lately, but a whole new generation of ads for new betting apps has taken its place.
Now, in a way, I’m an addict too. No gambling, but you might remember I admitted that I’m addicted to things like red licorice, coffee (even decaffeinated), and donuts. If these things are around, I’ll eat them. I have no intention of giving up my decaffeinated coffee. But I can’t keep red licorice at home and so almost every week I look longingly in the grocery store at the bright red candy and tell myself not to buy it. So I can relate to those who have compulsions to place a bet, pick up endless lottery tickets, smoke or drink. Or maybe we could extend the problem to those of us who spend too much time online, on Facebook, TikTok, or even just reading. While all of these things can be entertaining and not be an evil pastime, when they take over our lives or just our free time, this is where we need to draw a line or boundaries.
Problem gamblers (or those with a substance abuse problem) often develop a tolerance and need or want higher and higher stakes (or drugs / alcohol) to achieve the thrill or satisfaction that can accompany these habits. It can be an emotional problem – with serious financial consequences and even ruin. Most will deny that they have a problem. Ultimately, if your loved one is addicted to gambling, you need to protect your accounts or credit cards. And convince your partner to get help. It’s a big big ticket, I know.
I am thankful that I am not in a situation like this, but the ease of playing today – online and with “free money” with great names makes today’s scenario especially dangerous for people. relatives. I hope and pray that you or a member of your family can avoid the ruin of serious money / gambling problems.
You can request a free little booklet titled “When Someone You Love Has a Gambling Problem”. Send your mailing address to [email protected] or Another Way Media, PO Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.