This Sunday’s Perfect Storm

January 31, 2020
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

On Sunday, February 2, 2020, sports betting’s perfect storm will touch down at approximately 6:30p (EST). An estimated record 26 million American adults – that’s more than one-in-ten – will bet on the big game. According to the latest survey by The American Gaming Association (AGA), the amount of money that will be wagered on the last football game of the season will amount to an estimated $6.8 billion.1

With the expansion of legal sports betting in 2019, Americans have never had more opportunity to wager on the most hyped football event of the year. It’s not a secret that for problem gamblers, this annual sports tradition often represents a way to “chase losses” from earlier in the season and try to break even. With Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) right around the corner, it’s a great time to learn makes this time of year so tough for those suffering from gambling addiction, as well as how to get help if you or someone you know is suffering from this problem.

Sports betting is no longer something that just happens around the office or between friends at a party; the AGA’s survey shows that more and more people are adapting to digital betting, with an estimated 5 million placing their bets through websites and phone apps (up 19% from last year).1

In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), leaving it to the states to decide whether to legalize sports betting. 2 Despite the fact that sports gambling is still illegal in the State of Florida, with this restriction lifted, people are flocking to sports betting when the opportunity arises. Alongside the rise of digital betting, as well as 2020 marking the 100-year anniversary of the National Football League (NFL), the lifting of PASPA is part of what will make this year’s big game one of the biggest sports betting events yet.

[IMAGE] This Sunday’s Perfect Storm

Florida’s Problem Gambling HelpLine is Available 24/7 for Those Who Need Shelter from the Storm

Since sports betting is one of the top three forms of gambling in which problem and pathological gamblers participate significantly more than low to no-risk gamblers, this time of year is always a challenge for those suffering from gambling addiction. The combination of increased access to sports betting and the surge in media coverage, due to the NFL’s centennial anniversary, could lead to a perfect storm for these people.

While March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), take the opportunity now to educate yourself (and others) on the dangers of gambling addiction. If you think gambling has become a problem for yourself or someone you know, call 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848). Florida’s 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine will be available before, during, and after the big game.


1 “A Record 26 Million Americans Will Wager on Super Bowl LIV.” A Record 26 Million Americans Will Wager on Super Bowl LIV, PRNewswire, 28 Jan. 2020, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/a-record-26-million-americans-will-wager-on-super-bowl-liv-300994018.html?fbclid=IwAR2RD61Xc9GANG4XBLaSF3IgSOCWTJzryMsJ4xYAP9pg5VkA71j7wkLpZxA. 2 Perez, A.J. “What It Means: Supreme Court Strikes down PASPA Law That Limited Sports Betting.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 14 May 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2018/05/14/supreme-court-sports-betting-paspa-law-new-jersey/440710002/.