Before and during the game this weekend, bets can be placed on every aspect of the game, from who will win the coin toss to which plays will be made. With the rise of online sports betting from organizations like Draft Kings and FanDuel, all of this can be done in just a few clicks from the comfort of your couch. FanDuel has already been airing a series of commercials throughout the playoffs specifically advertising for a Super Bowl bet they’re referring to as ‘The Kick of Destiny.’ Draft Kings has also created a similar ad, partnering with Molson Coors and encouraging viewers to bet on the commercial they air during the game. Historically, the Super Bowl is the single most popular game to bet upon, and the gambling rates are anticipated to continue rising.
While websites like FanDuel and Draft Kings make sports betting look like a fun way to interact with other sports fans, research has found that, “sports betting, relative to non-sports betting, has been more strongly linked to gambling problems and cognitive distortions related to illusion of control, probability control and interpretive control.” Basically, people who engage in sports gambling are more likely to have a false sense of security because of their knowledge of the game and/or team. Furthermore, while many in the sports gambling industry have started investing in programs to help problem gamblers, there is a significant conflict of interest here, as the industry makes the most moneyoff of problem gamblers.
Another significant concern is that legalizing sports gambling will increase access for teens. The National Council on Problem Gambling reported that, despite the age limits in place, between 60-80% of high school students had reported gambling, and 4% to 6% of them were considered addicted to gambling. College students are also at an increased risk of falling prey to the gambling industry’s temptation, causing financial devastation for them and their families. Creating an environment that enables young people to make these risky decisions is irresponsible and potentially catastrophic. People under the age of 25 are already vulnerable due to their state of brain development, and opening this door to them could cause them to start their adult lives with significant amounts of gambling debt.
Despite recent efforts to legalize it, sports betting is still illegal in North Carolina. Last year, a bill that would have legalized it was defeated in the State House by one vote. Because of this narrow loss, it is anticipated that a similar bill will come up in this year’s session.
The gambling industry is masterful at manipulation. They hide the financial damage amongst elusive promises that the next bet you place can win big, and their predatory marketing makes gambling out to be a harmless form of entertainment. This is why NC Family is adamantly opposed to the legalization of sports gambling in our state. No matter how many safeguards are allegedly constructed, gambling brings devastation wherever it goes, especially to the most vulnerable in our society.
If you aren’t already signed up, be sure to subscribe to NC Family’s weekly emails and Action Alerts. This is where we will keep you up to date on any gambling legislation that comes up and tell you when to contact your legislators. In the meantime, as our country ramps up for the Super Bowl this week, we encourage you to look closely at the ads presenting the “fun” of gambling and see it for the deception it is.