The anticipation for Super Bowl 58 is at an all-time high, and with it comes the excitement of sports betting. A record-breaking 26% of Americans are expected to place bets on the big game, thanks in part to the rise in popularity of sports gambling. However, this meteoric increase has also led to a rise in gambling addiction across the nation, which concerns some health professionals.
At Shooters Bar and Grill in Billings, Montana, folks like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley were busy preparing for the Super Bowl. “I came here to have a beer and a shot just to loosen up before the festivities begin,” said Burns on Sunday.
Burns isn’t alone in his love for placing bets on sports. “Makes the game more enjoyable to watch when you got a little money on the line,” he added. “I bet big” chimed in Curley.
While these two fans may not be addicted to gambling, it is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue nationwide. According to Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings, about 1% of the population is suspected to have a gambling disorder, which is around 3.4 million Americans. Perdue explained that one of the areas of concern is how easy it is for people to access mobile platforms that often incentivize getting started with placing bets.
Montana has followed this trend over the past couple of years by setting records each year for revenue collected from gambling since sports betting was legalized in 2019. Worrisome as this may be, Perdue noted that data collection only goes back five years and there are concerns about how things will play out long-term as more people become involved in sports betting and its potential impact on mental health