The Super Bowl 58 has arrived, and the excitement is palpable. With the rise in popularity of sports betting, a record-breaking 26% of Americans are expected to bet on the big game. This meteoric rise has contributed to an increase in gambling addiction across the nation, causing concern among some health professionals.
In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was buzzing with anticipation as people like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “I came here to have a beer and a shot just to kind of loosen up before the festivities begin,” said Burns on Sunday. “I bet big” added Curley.
Luckily, these 49ers fans aren’t part of the growing number of people experiencing an addiction to gambling. “Nationwide, as to the prevalence of the number of people that we suspect have a gambling disorder, is about 1% of the population,” said Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings. Perdue explained that this is around 3.4 million Americans. “One of the areas of concern is the ease of access with the mobile platforms and those platforms often incentivizing getting started placing bets,” added Perdue.
Just like with alcohol or nicotine, addiction begins with compulsive changes to the brain, and Montanans aren’t immune. “Montana’s really followed this nationwide trend over the past couple of years with setting records each and every year for the revenue that they’re collecting from gambling,” Perdue said. Worrisome as Perdue and other experts can only glean data from the past five years since sports betting was only legalized in 2019. “I think absolutely it’s an area of concern for us to monitor and really see how things play out,” said Perdue.
For Burns, it’s another way to have some fun even if he doesn’t always win. “For the most part, I’ve got self-control,” he quipped.” I’ve had a few losses where I’ve woke up