The FIFA World Cup is well underway, and with all the excitement surrounding it, you may feel inclined to place some bets on your favorite team.
While many can enjoy the occasional bet, others can easily develop a sports betting problem. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved in betting on the World Cup.
Why Are So Many Americans Betting on the World Cup?
Americans are projected to wager $1.8 billion on this year's FIFA World Cup. Why so many, and why this year? There are a few reasons to consider.
1. It’s legal (in many states) - This year’s FIFA World Cup is the first men's competition since the Supreme Court's ruling to lift the federal ban on sports betting, allowing individual states the option to make sports betting legal.
Now, an estimated 132 million Americans live in states where sports betting is legal, whereas during the last World Cup, there were only about 10 million.
It’s easily accessible - It’s easier than ever to place bets on sports. You don’t even have to leave your house - you can do it all from an app on your phone.
It’s normalized - Many people don’t even think twice about placing bets, because it’s so normalized in our culture. Betting is seen as a casual, risk-free activity that encourages friendly rivalry amongst groups.
It’s fun - Betting can be a way to enjoy a sports game with friends, and have some form of friendly competition. It can make the game more entertaining when you have money on the line, and can be exciting to find out if you will make money off of your bet.
Sports Betting Ads in the World Cup
Sports betting ads are one of the most popular types of advertising during the World Cup, and in football (soccer) in general.
World Cup betting is a billion-dollar industry, and being the biggest sporting event in the world which lasts an entire month, the World Cup is huge for sportsbooks.
On October 1, less than 2 months before the start of the World Cup, a new rule was enforced in the UK regarding sports betting ads.
This new rule prohibits celebrities and star athletes from encouraging sports betting, since these public figures have the power to influence children and teens.
Like all other forms of advertising, sports betting advertisements shape consumers' perceptions and feelings, which may eventually prompt them to take action.
However, despite this rule, former UK football stars including Harry Redknapp, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane are helping to promote betting on World Cup matches, which many find to be concerning.
Dangers of World Cup Betting
Even though making casual bets on sports can be a fun way to get engaged in the action, routine gambling can easily develop into an addiction before the bettor even recognizes it.
The number of games during the World Cup, and the frequency at which they occur, can make it a dangerous ground for developing harmful betting habits. People may start betting on the World Cup, and then their betting carries over to other sports, or other forms of gambling.
Many people believe that sports betting is not a risky activity, because it requires skill rather than being solely based on luck. Sports bettors easily fall into the belief that they can essentially beat the system, and even become professional sports bettors.
Regardless of how much you know about the sport, you can never be sure which team or individual will take home the victory because every sports wager is a risk.
People who are truly considered to be professional gamblers are those who are in control of their behavior, are able to set a budget and stick to it, and do not let gambling negatively interfere with other areas of their life.
Signs of Sports Betting Addiction
Gambling is often referred to as a “hidden addiction,” since it doesn’t have the typical physical signs that a drug or alcohol addiction has.
Here are a few ways to tell if you or someone you know is developing a sports betting addiction.
- Unable to stop or cut back on betting, even when losses start piling up
- Becoming preoccupied with thoughts of betting
- Feeling irritable or restless when missing a sports match
- Constantly checking scores
- Unable to stick to a budget
- Betting on sports they previously had no interest in
Tips for Responsible World Cup Betting
If you're going to place bets during the World Cup, be sure to stick to these 5 rules:
1. Set a budget (and don’t go over it) - Never bet more than you are willing to lose, because there is a very good chance that you could lose that money.
Stick to smaller stakes when first starting out. Taking risks with larger investments can lead to greater rewards in the short term, but also more risk in the long term.
2. Don’t bet while under the influence - Drugs and alcohol impair your decision-making skills, meaning that you may feel overly confident about decisions that aren’t smart.
3. Don’t chase your losses - Continuing to place bets after you have lost a significant amount is never a good idea. The more you gamble, the more likely you are to lose. If you have lost, accept it, and move on.
4. Do your research - Don’t bet on teams or players or sports that you know nothing about. If you’re going to place a bet, understand what you are betting on.
5. Quit while you’re ahead - Don’t keep chasing the wins. Of course it feels amazing to win a large sum, but that only comes around every once in a while.
Get Help for Sports Betting Addiction
If you or a loved one are exhibiting signs of a sports betting addiction, there is help available for you. At Algamus, we have over 30 years of experience treating all forms of gambling addiction - including sports betting and fantasy sports addiction.