Maryland Talks Sports Betting’s Impact On Problem Gambling

Posted on January 20, 2023

Now that Maryland has launched online sports betting in the state, it’s important to raise awareness for problem gambling prevention and treatment options, experts say.

Policy professionals believe now is the opportune time to explore the effect of Maryland sports betting on local communities and residents.

Webinar discusses MD sports betting & problem gambling

Maryland’s first month of public data confirmed the high level of interest and participation in legal online sports betting.

To discuss impending issues from this new industry, the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling at the University of Maryland hosted a one-hour webinar on Friday, Jan. 20.

This “Maryland Sports Betting: Implications from a Policy, Prevention, and Treatment Perspective” webinar was the latest in a series of events hosted by the Center. Previous topics have included support for gambling disorder recovery and the impact of gambling on personal finances.

What to expect at the sports betting seminar

Friday’s webinar focused on Maryland sports betting policies and how they both promote and discourage safe gambling.

Best practices for responsible gambling and learning the signs of problem behaviors were also discussed.

The Center says that following the forum, participants should be able to:

  • Consider the sports betting policies in Maryland and their potential impact on the community.
  • Understand problem gambling prevention strategies that can be implemented to encourage responsible gambling in Maryland.
  • Understand the evidenced-based problem gambling screening tools and treatment strategies relevant to individuals with problem gambling behaviors due to sports betting.

Correlation doesn’t always equal causation

Research shows that gaming expansion typically leads to an increase in problem gambling behavior and disorders. Recovered gambling addicts often highlight how this increase in available options tends to exacerbate problematic behaviors.

However, the long-term impact of digital gambling in the U.S. is uncertain due to a relatively small sample size.

Internet casino gambling was legalized in New Jersey in 2013. The Garden State was also the first in the country to offer both retail and online sports betting in 2018.

Problem gambling experts in N.J. reported a noticeable increase in calls coming into the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline during the early months of online sports betting. But, officials acknowledged the frequency and volume declined after time, although both metrics remained higher than before.

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David Danzis

David Danzis is a lead writer and analyst for Catena Media's network of Play sites, appearing on PlayNJ, PlayCA, PlayOhio and PlayMaryland. He is a New Jersey native and an honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. After years of reporting on Atlantic City casinos, NJ online gambling and sports betting, his focus is now on emerging gaming markets. David lives in Mays Landing, NJ with his wife and two children. When not on the beach, golf course, or the slopes, David enjoys watching his beloved New York sports teams — Yankees, Jets, Rangers, and Knicks.

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