Jan. 20, 2120 – Compared to the national average, ‘problem gambling’ isn’t a huge issue in Michigan right now.

But the people who help gambling addicts are worried that’s about to change, as internet gambling and sports betting become legal in the state on Friday.

“I started drinking and gambling and hustling the streets of Detroit and eventually it just got out of hand,” said Mike Mooney, a recovering gambling addict. Mooney is now a licensed psychologist and helps people who are battling the same problem.

“Legalized gambling is an entertaining way for the state of Michigan, to increase revenue, without raising taxes on the masses,” Mooney says. A little more than two weeks from Super Bowl Sunday, Michigan will start allowing people to make legal bets from their living room couch. Mooney says that’s dangerously easy, especially during the pandemic.

“Covid — as a problem gambling treatment provider–we have seen a steady increase in new online gamblers more than say, a year ago or two years ago.”

“We have gambling for one reason, the biggest reason today is because of the virus. It just has wiped out all forms of income for the state and everybody else,” says Michael Burke, executive director of the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling. “It seemed to be an easy market, and it’s going to prove to be that.”



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