‘Only one call away from starting to turn your life around’: Super Bowl week can be a tough one for problem gamblers

The Super Bowl is basically a holiday for gamblers, which can lead to a difficult time for people who struggle with gambling addiction.

The Super Bowl is basically a holiday for gamblers, which can lead to a difficult time for people who struggle with gambling addiction.

“For some who’ve been betting on sports all season long, the Super Bowl represents a chance to win back everything they’ve lost, and so they may start to chase their losses,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Consumers are bombarded with ads for sports betting, especially when the Super Bowl comes around.

Such ads can trigger the urge to gamble, even for people who’ve already been devastated by their addiction, according to Whyte.

“We are in the midst of a surge of unprecedented expansion of sports betting … so there’s definitely a lot more risk for gambling problems,” Whyte said.

The National Council on Problem Gambling receives more than 300,000 calls, texts and chat messages on its helpline every year.

Whyte’s general advice for everyone is to stay within your limits, don’t gamble on credit and don’t wager when drunk, stressed or depressed.

“The most important point for anybody who may be struggling or who may think they have a problem is to know that there’s hope and help out there,” Whyte said. “You’re only one call away from starting to turn your life around.”

Nearly 68 million American adults — about 1 in 4 — plan to bet on the Super Bowl, setting a record by a wide margin, according to the gambling industry’s national trade association. Figures released by the American Gaming Association include bets placed with legal outlets, as well as with illegal bookies and online operations in other countries.

The volume of betting participation is projected to be 35% higher than last year, which was the previous record.

Bettors plan to wager an estimated $23.1 billion on this year’s Super Bowl, up from $16 billion last year, the group predicted.

Sports betting is legal in 38 states plus Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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