The Super Bowl draws more betting volume and capital than any other sports event in America. Last year, an excess of $7.6 billion in wagers was accepted by sportsbooks across the country despite Florida, California, and Texas being among key absentees.
It is therefore no surprise that sportsbooks are expecting this year’s Super Bowl to cause many bettors to submit their first-ever wagers.
Sportsbooks are also aware of the power they hold and often offer lucrative promotions during major events, including the upcoming Super Bowl.
FanDuel, for example, is offering users a cut of $10 million in bonus bets if NFL legend Rob Gronkowski nails a 25-yard field goal during the big game. That alone should be enough to get many fringe gamblers to create accounts and submit bets.
Dr. James Whelan, professor and director of the Tennessee Institute for Gambling Education and Research in Memphis, believes that bettors often have the wrong attitude about gambling. Instead of looking at it as a source of entertainment and add-on to the spectacle of the game, they see it as a way to reverse their financial fortunes.
“People gamble for the hope that they can fix everything, and that makes you hang on longer,” said Whelan. “If you find yourself really chasing losses that you have, that's sort of a very basic sign that you want to pause.”
Even with the warnings, a vast majority of people with gambling problems never get the help they need. Many are also afraid to talk about their struggles due to the stigma surrounding gambling addiction.