With loads of college basketball to to wager on, March Madness is an exciting time for sports bettors. But it can also trigger problem gambling habits if bettors start chasing losses and betting above their limits.
Exposure and access to sports wagering is at an all-time high. Folks in the Empire State have nine NY sports betting apps to choose from for the NCAA Tournament and other betting markets.
The tournament stands as one of the most-bet-on sporting events in the country each year, completely enthralling the nation in March. As such, and especially now with the proliferation of legal sports betting in the US, Problem Gambling Awareness Month was created 20 years ago to help combat the annual spike.
Sports betting is meant to be a fun way to enjoy a game, but it can quickly turn problematic if an individual isn’t practicing responsible gambling in New York. Those risks only heighten during an event like March Madness when there’s non-stop action to wager on.
Responsible gambling is paramount during March Madness
Being a responsible gambler is something every bettor should strive for. While March Madness creates weeks of the biggest sports betting action in North America, it is paramount that individuals interested in participating do so in a responsible manner.
As noted, the arrival of March Madness brings an increase in gambling across the country, as Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, has previously has pointed out.
“March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” Whyte said in a press release. “Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”
Some tips to achieve that goal include:
- Keeping track of money spent while gambling, including setting limits when needed (and abiding by them).
- Setting limits on the amount of time spent gambling when needed and knowing when to take breaks.
- Not gambling with non-discretionary money (i.e., money needed for other purposes).
- Not always “letting it ride” or “chasing losses” after winning or losing bets.
- Not gambling as a means to cope or avoid stress, anxiety or depression.
- Knowing it is OK to ask for help when gambling starts to become a problem.
Best practices for responsible gambling in New York
During the NCAA Tournament, it’s especially wise to avoid chasing losses. This means if you start losing money, betting more money on games isn’t a good plan to get it back because you’re risking an even greater loss. For example, taking No. 2 Arizona to beat No. 15 Princeton resulted in a loss during the tournament’s opening round. Some may have considered, or even placed, a bigger bet on top-seeded Purdue to put away No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson — which resulted in a monumental upset of the Boilermakers.
A great way to avoid chasing losses is by setting limits on time spent betting and the amount you plan to wager over a given time period. By doing so, you can avoid getting sucked into the chaos of March Madness and you won’t risk losing more cash than you can afford.
Of course, the most important part of setting limits is sticking to them. You can plan to only bet a certain amount on NCAA Tournament games, but you must be prepared to take action and step away once that limit is reached.
Luckily, New York has plenty of problem gambling services that can help you stick to your word.
Problem gambling services in New York
New York has multiple resources for those suffering from problem gambling. This includes:
- New York Council on Problem Gambling
- New York State HOPEline
- New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports
- New York State Gaming Commission
The goal of the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is to raise awareness on problem gambling while advocating for support services. The Albany-based nonprofit organization also works with Problem Gambling Resource Centers within each region of NY.
The NYCPG also hosts a yearly problem gambling conference, sponsors workshops and webinars, and helps identify resources for those looking for help.
The HOPEline, meanwhile, is open 24/7 and accepts confidential calls from problem gamblers seeking recovery. Their toll-free number is 1-877-HOPENY, but you can also text them at HOPENY.
Additionally, the website for the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) offers information and services for problem gamblers, as well as those battling substance abuse. The OASAS serves as New York’s only designated state agency in charge of coordinating state-federal relations as they pertain to addiction services.
Finally, consider the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), the regulating body for casinos and sportsbooks in the Empire State. Their job is to ensure gaming operators in NY act in a socially responsible manner. More information on the NYSGC is available via their website.