US Supreme Courts’ Ruling to Legalize Sports Betting Would Fuel Problem Gambling, Experts Say

The US Supreme Court’s landmark decision in favor of the state of New Jersey, which is set to practically permit states to make sports betting legal, has caused a lot of controversy across the country.

On one hand, both sports betting operators and potential customers have expressed their satisfaction with the highest national court’s ruling. On the other hand, a number of treatment organizations and anti-gambling campaigners have warned that the US gambling market has changed for good, but not for the players’ sake.

A number of gambling critics and problem gambling treatment charities have raised a red flag about the dangers associated with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the lifting of the sports betting ban would have detrimental effect on players’ lives. According to experts, the number of gambling addictions is to increase after sports betting is officially made legal across the country and states add it to their gambling offering. Some of them said the problem would spread across the entire nation like an epidemic.

For the time being, the number of gambling addicts in the US is in the range from 3 to 5 million. This number, however, is expected to increase.

Before the state lottery was made legal, a total of 31% of US residents confessed they had been taking part in illegal lottery gambling. A survey which was carried out at the time found that 81% of the same individuals took part in the state-run lottery drawings. When it comes to sports betting, a recent survey carried out by the American Gaming Association showed that 28 million more American citizens are expected to take advantage of the new betting options.

Measures to Tackle Problem Gambling Should Be Taken

As reported by the New York Post, the President of the National Council on Problem Gambling’s board of directors – Marlene Warner – said that both sports leagues and regulators that draw benefit from new revenue should use the additional profits they are expected to get in order to help tackling problem gambling.

Ms. Warner explained that the expansion of the US gambling market through the addition of sports betting operations would probably end up with an increase in gambling participation of local customers, as well as with a boost in the number of problem gamblers nationwide, unless steps were taken towards gambling-related harm minimization.

Experts also insisted that a number of states are not prepared to guarantee adequate charity programs aimed at helping people dealing with gambling-related harm.

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court finally came up with a ruling in New Jersey’s sports betting case, ruling in favor of the state and opening the door to betting on sports. The court voted 6 to 3 to annul the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 under which states were not able to add sports betting to their gambling markets.

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