Dec. 23, 2021 – Unlike more visible addictions, problem gambling is fairly easy to hide, yet leaves about 2 million Americans annually feeling alone, ashamed and, in many cases, broke.  A recent survey from the National Council on Problem Gambling, a Washington-based nonprofit, showed that the risk has doubled since 2018. The survey of 2,000 people nationwide focused on attitudes and experiences gambling both online and at casinos.

In addition, the group’s helpline has seen a marked increase in use. Through November this year, the helpline received 238,600 calls, an average of nearly 21,700 per month. In 2018 and 2019, the average monthly calls hovered near 16,600.  Increases in gambling addiction have been fueled by major growth in legalized sports betting and by the pandemic, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Sports betting spiked nationwide after a 2018 Supreme Court decision cleared the way for its legalization beyond Nevada. Thirty states and Washington, D.C., now allow some form of legal sports betting.

In the first 10 months of 2021, overall sports betting generated $3.16 billion, more than double the sum for the same period last year, according to the American Gaming Assn.’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker.


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