Super Bowl 58 has arrived, and the excitement is palpable. With the surge in popularity of sports betting, a record-breaking 26% of Americans are expected to place bets on the big game. This meteoric rise has contributed to an increase in gambling addiction across the nation, according to some health professionals.
In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was buzzing with anticipation as people like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “Came to have a beer and a shot, just to kind of loosen up before the festivities begin,” Burns said on Sunday.
You can bet these 49ers fans aren’t just watching the game for the football. “Makes the game more enjoyable to watch when you got a little money on the line,” Burns added. “I bet big” replied Curley.
Luckily, these two aren’t part of that growing number of people struggling with an addiction to gambling. “Nationwide, as to the prevalence of the number of people that we suspect have a gambling disorder, is about 1% of the population,” said Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings. Perdue explained that this equates to around 3.4 million Americans. “One of the areas of concern is the ease of access with mobile platforms and those platforms often incentivizing getting started placing bets,” he added.
Just like alcohol or nicotine, addiction starts with compulsive changes in brain chemistry and Montanans aren’t immune either. As Perdue noted, Montana has followed this trend over recent years by setting records for revenue collected from gambling every year since legalization in 2019.”I think absolutely it’s an area of concern for us to monitor and really see how things play out,” he said.”
For Burns, it’s all about having fun and taking risks even if it means losing sometimes.”For