The possibility of occasional gambling becoming more problematic is expanding with legal sports betting and the illegal online market.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of gaming, especially when you’re winning. For the bulk of Americans, its occasional entertainment, but for some, it stops being fun.
Mike Scandria is a former gambling addict, who now helps others with the same problem. He uses a self-exclusion program.
“You’re not going to move away from the gambling, so you have to live amongst it,” he said.
A self-exclusion program can allow people to sign up for a registry that prevents them from being able to gamble in a casino, place bets on sports, or access legal internet gaming. Thirty-four states and Washington, D.C. have regulations addressing responsible gaming. All of them except Oklahoma have adopted some form of self-exclusion program, according to the American Gaming Association.
“It’s a big decision to make, and if you need help, it’s an important one that you can try,” said Cait DeBaun, with the American Gaming Association, about self-exclusion programs.
But what about protections online? Only six states have legalized online casino gaming, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Delaware, and Connecticut.
The illegal online gaming market is vast and not overseen by gaming commissions or the government. Many people may not even realize they are gambling illegally online, Debaun said.
“They don’t invest in responsible gaming. They don’t care about problem gambling, and they don’t pay taxes to help fund these issues,” he explained.