Our view: The pandemic and younger problem gamblers

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Good afternoon,

I  sometimes wonder what would happen to TV stations’ revenues if online gambling sites and personal injury attorneys suddenly pulled their advertising.

The topic of drumming up legal business is a topic for another day. 

The surge in advertising and the nonstop availability of online gambling is a topic that should be on the front burner.

This week, the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, Inc. held a virtual conference that looked into the many ways one can quickly become a problem gambler.

The focus was on young people who might not be inclined to hit the tables or slots but could quickly be swept up in everything from online sports betting to day trading of stocks and speculating on bitcoin. I would add that older people who know their way around a mobile device are also vulnerable.

The temptation is even greater when working from home or not working at all.

A major theme of the conference, “Young Gamblers in the Era of Bitcoin, Robinhood and Prop Bets,” summed up the challenges in treatment and other areas.

Throw in a pandemic, and you have what the Delaware group sees as a “perfect storm” of hazards.

Advertising and social media come into play, especially in the case of investors betting for and against stocks like Game Stop or Bed, Bath and Beyond, as well as the availability of a  multitude of online gaming sites.

Granted, these options have been available forever in one form or another. 

Still, people who stay away from illegal gambling might be drawn into easily betting for their favorite sports team or slots game from their couch.

I am reminded of a story I read several years ago regarding a teacher who drove by a casino on her way to class.

When she retired, curiosity got the best of her. Visits became frequent and, in the end, proved disastrous to her finances.

We all know about the story of the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and a thriving trucking business who lost it all and nearly sent the team to Phoenix. Numerous local examples have led to shattered lives and businesses struggling and failing.

And now, the pandemic has led us to the same place as the above-mentioned teacher.

Click here for further information and sources of help offered by the Delaware Council. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.