The addictive act of sports gambling needs to be more frequently monitored

Callie Hawkins

In a world where sports and gambling are two popular pastimes, it’s no surprise that sports betting has become a booming industry. Sports betting has been around since ancient societies according to an article on the gambling in Ancient Greece by Anna Wichmann in the Greek Reporter. Greeks are known to have bet on athletic contests and who wager on gladiators and Olympians. The modern form of sports betting did not begin to take shape until the late 19th and 20th centuries, starting mainly with betting on horse races. But now, in addition to traditional sports betting, there are now daily fantasy sports competitions, online casinos, mobile betting apps and more as the industry continues to evolve each day.

With billions of dollars at stake and fans across the globe eagerly placing their bets, the thrill of the game has taken on a whole new level of excitement. But as the industry grows, so do the concerns about its impact on society. From addiction to fraud, the negatives of sports betting are only becoming more exacerbated, affecting our own community..

Sports betting can be extremely addictive, leading to impulsive and compulsive decisions and behavior having to do with these bets, but also affecting the gamblers daily lives. These addictions, whether large or small, are spreading to younger generations faster and faster. The availability to bet is growing, with bookies preying on underage kids, luring them into giving them their money, with sometimes a very slim chance of getting it back. A bookie, short for bookmaker, is someone who facilitates gambling, a person who determines gambling odds and receives and pays off bets. They make money by having a fee for each bet the gambler makes. Betting apps like PrizePicks on smartphones continue to enter the market, making it easy for gamblers to participate “legally” even if they are in a state where sports betting is illegal.

The availability to bet is growing, with bookies preying on underage kids, luring them into giving them their money.

Callie Hawkins

The finances behind sports betting are also of high concern. Like any gambling, there is the constant risk of losing the money you put in as long as you participate. Also like any other kind of gambling, most will want to keep taking that risk even if they are losing, focusing on the possibility of winning it back or even making more. This can lead to the addiction mentioned earlier. Many people have lost significant amounts of money, and are even in debt to themselves, parents or friends that have lent them money to feed their addiction. As concerning as it is for adults, it is concerning for students who have gotten into high school gambling. Some who borrow from friends and family may start their college off with no money, having lost it to this game. Even if they are on a winning streak, they have convinced themselves that they will be okay in the long run and continue to play.

Furthermore, if one has had good luck and hasn’t lost much money, there is the consistent potential for fraud. Not all sports betting is regulated, seeing as most of it is done under the radar in states where it is illegal and with kids who want to participate underage.

Because of all of these reasons, in many states, including California, Texas and Florida, sports betting is illegal. However, it is very easy to get around. Gambling on sports needs to be monitored and dealt with much more than it is now. I have heard of people as young as eighth grade losing hundreds of dollars to bookies. Gambling has gotten worse and worse as time has passed. Although it can be a fun pastime to compete with your friends or others every once and a while, that’s not really the case anymore and there needs to be a solution before it reaches and takes over more lives of young and innocent people who aren’t mature enough to know when to stop.

A solution is hard to find. It’s already infiltrated the lines of high school, and is starting to creep into middle school. It’s like a virus. One of my guy friends, who wishes to remain unnamed, explained how he couldn’t enjoy watching a sports game anymore without the high of betting on the game, supporting the research of how addicting betting is. I had trouble coming up with a solution to this problem, so I asked him what he would suggest. Without even thinking, he said there isn’t one. After my conversation with him, I realized that the only solution is for older kids to stand up and make sure others don’t spread the influence of gambling to younger generations. My friend explained to me how there really is no stopping it because of how much easier it is becoming to get involved. The development of these easily accessible sites and apps need to come to a halt. The government needs to make more stringent laws since the standing ones are clearly so easy to get around or else, this virus will continue to spread further into the middle school.

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