Super Bowl 58 is here, and with it comes the excitement of sports betting. A record-breaking 26% of Americans are expected to bet on the big game, thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of sports betting. While some people see it as a fun way to add excitement to their viewing experience, others are concerned about its impact on gambling addiction.
In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was bustling with excitement as people like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “Came 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.
But luckily, these two aren’t part of the growing number of people experiencing an addiction to gambling. According to Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings, nationwide, around 1% of the population is suspected to have a gambling disorder – or about 3.4 million Americans. One concern for experts like Perdue is how easy it is for people to start placing bets through mobile platforms that often incentivize getting started.
Montana has followed this trend over the past couple of years by setting records each year for revenue collected from gambling. However, experts are still gleaning data from only five years since sports betting was legalized in 2019. Nonetheless, Perdue says it’s an area of concern that they will monitor closely moving forward.
For Burns, though, it’s just 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 the next morning and said ah let’s not do that again.”