Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) — It’s that time of year when many diehard football fans have been waiting for: NFL season… a green light to put all bets on the table.
You think of it as all fun and games until it could spiral into something else.
“It’s something that I don’t think a lot of people really take very seriously, but it can be devastating.”Sheila Moran, director of marketing and communication for 1-800-gambler
And as sporting bets are on, advocates say addictions may spike, but gambling itself isn’t all bad.
“For most people, they can gamble responsibly.”Sheila Moran, director of marketing and communication for 1-800-gambler
Until it takes a turn for the worse, and, in some cases, it does.
Advocates say at least one in 50 people face a gambling addiction in West Virginia: something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
“The National Council on Problem Gambling has recently released a study showing that people who gamble in sports are five times more likely than other gamblers to exhibit risky behavior, which means they’re on the road to a gambling problem.”Sheila Moran, director of marketing and communication for 1-800-gambler
And if you or someone you know gambles, advocates say there’s ways you can keep yourself in check. In other words, don’t think of the money as an investment.
“Gambling is supposed to be about entertainment, not about an investment or a way to make money, and we found when people cross that line, and they start looking at it as a retirement plan or a second job, that’s when they get into trouble. They lose money they didn’t mean to lose, start chasing that money and it spirals.”Sheila Moran, director of marketing and communication for 1-800-gambler
On top of that, advocates says there are also ways that help you keep your spending and time spent gambling in line, especially if you gamble online or on your phone.
But at the end of the day, advocates say if gambling turns into an addiction, speak up.
“The most important thing is to, first of all, I understand that gambling is a real addiction. Many people don’t understand that, so when you do that and you sit and have a conversation with your loved one, it’s important to talk about it like it’s real, not that it’s a joke. People will say well at least this person is not on drugs, at least you’re not addicted to alcohol, but gambling can be just as devastating.”Sheila Moran, director of marketing and communication for 1-800-gambler
If you aren’t sure you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to gambling, call 1 (800) Gambler, and they’ll offer treatment options. It’s free and confidential.