Fantasy sports is big business. There are many organizations making lots of money of “fun” gambling between friends but for some people, daily sports betting becomes more than they gambled for. It can become a very serious gambling addiction.
While fantasy football used to mean getting together with your buddies, putting in a few dollars each and selecting your team or players for the season, we’ve seen fantasy sports betting evolve into a more complex system with daily betting options increasing in popularity. The platforms who run daily sports betting make a lot of money off those who play and have reinvented it to heavily market their platforms to more and more young men.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 56.8 million people played some form of Fantasy League last year with two-thirds of the players being men who earn over $75,000 annually. The fantasy sports market is a growing one, and much of it isn’t marketed as gambling, even though people pay money to play, risk losing that money and have the goal of winning monetary prizes. One of the major concerns is that online fantasy football games are marketed as a game of skill, which can falsely lead people to believe they aren’t gambling.
Just as a person can become addicted to playing poker or blackjack, a person can also become addicted to online sports betting.
How Can You Tell if Your Loved One is Addicted to Fantasy Sports Betting?
Fantasy sports can enhance the experience of being a sports fan. Games can be more fun to watch when there is something more personal at stake. Addiction to fantasy football betting occurs when a person loses control over his impulses and place bets often, regardless of the risk.
Here are a few signs to look out for if you suspect someone you care about is addicted to fantasy sports betting:
- If they continue placing bets and pick teams, even when they know the odds are against them
- When their relationships with others get affected
- When they experience significant financial difficulties due to gambling
Unfortunately, fantasy sports addiction isn’t always isolated and is often a secondary addiction. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, having a current substance use addiction increases the risk for gambling problems, as does having a history of substance use disorder.
If you suspect a loved one is addicted to fantasy football, reach out for support.
If you have difficulty controlling your gambling cravings, the best thing to do is to shut down your fantasy accounts.
Help is here if you experience an addiction to fantasy football or other sports betting.