The Super Bowl has arrived and with it comes a surge in betting activity. According to recent studies, a record-breaking 26% of Americans are expected to place bets on the big game, fueled by the growing popularity of sports betting. While some see this as a harmless pastime, others are concerned about the potential rise in gambling addiction that may accompany it.
In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was buzzing with excitement on Sunday as fans like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “I came to have a beer and a shot, just to kind of loosen up before the festivities begin,” said Burns. For these two fans, betting on the game adds an extra level of enjoyment to their viewing experience. “I bet big,” added Curley.
However, not everyone who places bets is doing so responsibly. According to Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings, around 1% of Americans are estimated to have a gambling disorder – equivalent to about 3.4 million people nationwide. Perdue is concerned about how easy it is for people to start placing bets through mobile platforms that often incentivize getting started quickly without much thought or consideration for the potential risks involved.
Montana has also experienced a surge in revenue from gambling over the past few years as legalization has brought new opportunities for residents to gamble online or at casinos throughout the state. However, with only five years of data available since sports betting was legalized in 2019, it’s difficult to predict what long-term effects this trend will have on individuals and communities across Montana.
Despite these concerns, many people view gambling as just another way to have fun and socialize with friends during major sporting events like the Super Bowl. As long as they remain mindful of their limits and maintain control over their behavior, they can enjoy themselves without risking their well-being or financial stability.