Online gambling and sports betting: maybe not a good bet | Characteristics

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MDHHS Reports Tripled Problem Gambling Help Calls Last Year
By Lynda Wheatley | February 26, 2022

It’s been a year since Michigan lawmakers legalized online sports betting and gambling, and it seems the seemingly endless barrage of radio and TV ads isn’t the only problem for residents of the Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reports that more than 4,400 calls were made to the Michigan Problem Gambling Hotline in 2021 – a number almost triple those received in 2020 , the year before online gambling was approved. Referrals for people to receive gambling treatment also increased significantly, from 295 referrals in 2020 to 420 referrals last year, an increase of 42%.

(For young people, the MDHHS says the risk of problem gambling has also risen as a result, in part due to the rise of online gaming and teens’ urge to connect virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MDHHS reports that the rate of problem gambling among high school students is twice as high as adults, and someone who gambles before age 12 will be four times more likely to develop a gambling addiction.)

That said, now is probably a good time to check out MDHHS’ 14th Annual Gambling Disorder Symposium, “Gambling: The New Direction,” which will be held virtually Thursday, March 3 through Friday, March 4. Says Alia Lucas, MDHHS Gambling Disorder Program Manager, “Resources are available at the symposium to identify and learn about steps you can take if you or a family member struggles with a gambling disorder.” Search “Gambling New Direction” on cmham.org to learn more and register.

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