Sports betting may feel like little more than a game, especially if you wager through an app or online at home. But just because sports betting doesn’t necessarily require heading to a casino doesn’t mean it isn’t a gamble.
Unlike slower forms of gambling, like poker, sports betting offers fast and frequent betting opportunities throughout every game. That gives bettors even more chances to lose a significant amount of money in one single game—more than you may be able to afford.
Sports betting, as low stakes as it may seem at first, can lead to a serious gambling addiction. One that strains your relationships, your budget, and the trust your friends and family have in you.
Think it’s time to change your gambling?
The first sign of problem gambling is the inability to stop yourself from placing another bet. If you’re unsure if your sport betting has grown into problem gambling, try stopping on your own. The result may surprise you.
Even after you’ve decided to change your gambling, it can be hard to stick to your goals. Especially with football season in full swing. Between the constant sports betting advertisements bombarding viewers, and sports betting’s exponential growth, if you feel like gambling is everywhere—you’re probably right.
According to the media company Front Office Sports, in 2022 alone, sportsbooks handled $93.2 billion in bets. That’s an increase of 61.1% since 2021. This year’s wagers are expected to be even higher.
Sports betting may be on the rise, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your football experience. If you want to enjoy the game—without the wager—here are a few helpful tips:
Host a football watch party
If you’re more likely to place a bet you regret when you’re alone, invite friends and family over to watch the game together. Surrounding yourself with a supportive group can empower you to experience the best moments of an exciting game, without feeling the pressure to wager on it.
Remember, accountability can take a lot of different forms. Watching your favorite teams with your favorite people might just be one of the most enjoyable ones!
Set yourself up for success all season
If you know you’ll be tempted to bet on an upcoming game, you can take proactive steps to limit your own access to sports betting platforms.
For example, if you usually bet through an app or website, put your phone and computer away during the game. Have a family member stash them in a spot you can’t find, or leave them at home and head to a friend’s house to watch the game. If you’re going out to watch football, consider leaving your credit cards and extra cash at home.
Another helpful step you can take is deleting any sports betting apps you have from your devices. You can even delete your account on the platform to add an extra layer of proactive protection.
These steps do take a bit of pre-planning. But if you’re ready to make a lasting change—and enjoy life after betting—they’re worth the effort.
Get help from the Nebraska Problem Gambling Assistance Program (NPGAP)
You can change your gambling, and we can help.
Anyone in Nebraska can get free, confidential help (for you or someone you love) by calling 1-833-BETOVER (238-6837) or texting 402-806-7344. When you reach out, we’ll take the time to listen to what you’re going through and connect you to the right next step.
Here’s what you can expect when you reach out:
Professional assistance. You’ll reach helpline specialist Justin Antons (MA, LIMHP, LADC, CDGC), an experienced problem gambling professional who understands where you’re coming from.
Resources. Tools and strategies you can use to find the freedom you want.
Personalized plans. Actionable next steps you can take to change your gambling for good.
Watching football without wagering is a significant step
This season, we have a challenge for you: Test your ability to change your gambling on your own. Host watch parties, delete your sports betting apps, and leave your cash at home. Because with a proactive plan and support in place, you can enjoy the excitement of football season without letting gambling get in the way of your good time.
But if you’re ready for a little extra support and actionable next steps, call 1-833-BETOVER (238-6837) or text 402-806-7344. We’re standing by and ready to help.