What Will the Football Season Look Like During the Pandemic? It’s a Good Time to Pause and Reflect on Sports Betting.

August 18, 2020
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

As the world aims to catch a glimpse of normality, this year has been unlike any other. Many are on their toes waiting for their favorite sport to kick-off, and the announcement of the Big Ten and the PAC-12 postponing the college football season until next year plus uncertainty with the NFL is leading others to place bets on when the football season will begin or how it will turn out [1] . While the COVID-19 pandemic might be delaying sports seasons, individuals who struggle with gambling disorder are looking for other ways in which they will be able to fulfill their gambling addictions. A key in the prevention of gambling disorder is understanding the risks that come with placing bets, and in this case, sports betting. 

Sports betting can show up in different kinds of ways, on mobile applications, websites, advertising, and even through social media. While sports betting is not legal in Florida, there is always a threat posed to the individuals that struggle with gambling addiction. Back in January, a survey from Morning Consult found that nearly 5 million were planning to place a bet on the big game via an online or mobile platform either through a licensed, legal operator or an illegal offshore book[2]. According to an analysis by the National Council of Problem Gambling, sports bettors are at least twice as likely to have gambling problems [3].  While the nation is still in the process of recovery from COVID-19 and awaiting the start of football season, it’s a good time to reflect on your gambling activity, including sports betting. Our 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine offers the necessary resources to anyone suffering from gambling addiction or their loved ones, including those who are concerned about whether they have a problem. 

“As a society, we need to make sure raising awareness about the issue of problem gambling is part of the discussion and be spreading the word that help and hope are available in Florida through the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine for anyone who needs it” said Jennifer Kruse, FCCG’s  Executive Director [4]. Steps to avoid developing a gambling problem include: setting limits of time and money spent gambling, seeking help to manage negative feelings, viewing gambling as an activity with long-term losses, and avoiding forms of gambling that are not legal [3]. While online gambling is on the rise, learning to know one’s weaknesses and difficulties is important in preventing any addiction. Our 18-19 HelpLine data showed that online sports betting caused the most difficulty (52%) for help seekers engaged in online gambling — another form of gambling not legal in Florida. [5]. We are ready to help you through any difficulty gambling may be presenting in your life or in those of your loved ones. Help and hope are available, call our 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine available 24/7. In this season of many changes, no one should have to walk alone. We are ready to help you. We bet you can get help for you and your loved ones. 

The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

[1] Kelli Dugan, C. (2020, August 11). Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference postpone 2020 football season. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.wftv.com/news/trending/report-commissioners-eye-postponing-2020-college-football-season-after-emergency-meeting/M3E7WOV7XNDIJCBDTGYOYZUHQM/

[2] American Gaming Association. “Super Bowl LIV Wagering Estimates.” American Gaming Association, www.americangaming.org/resources/super-bowl-liv-wagering-estimates/.

[3] Rollins, Barbara. “Keep Your Super Bowl Safer: Sports Betting & Online Gambling Are A Volatile Mix.” National Council on Problem Gambling, 31 Jan. 2020, www.ncpgambling.org/keep-your-super-bowl-safer/.

[4] Florida Council of Compulsive Gambling. “Florida’s 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine Data Reveals Callers in Crisis Amid COVID-19 Pandemic.” Press Release May 2020, May 2020, gamblinghelp.org/assets/Pressrelease-May-2020.pdf.

[5] 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2019 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2019, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report