Sports betting fascinates people of all ages and social classes. The exciting thrill and the prospect of lucrative profits have allowed the sports betting business to grow rapidly for years. More and more betting sites are striving for the market and attracting new customers, ever larger sums are being implemented. The betting boom also has its downsides. Sports betting can become an addiction from which those affected can no longer get away without external help. But how do you know if you are already at risk of addiction? What are the first small alarm signals? Our experts will tell you how to recognize a sports betting addiction and where you can easily find help.
How do I recognize a sports betting addiction?
A sports betting addiction does not come overnight, it develops slowly. The phrase “sports betting can be addictive” can often be found in the small print of the corresponding advertisements. This is not an empty phrase, but a fact. That is why experts have developed a questionnaire with which you can critically question your own betting behavior. The most important thing is that you honestly reflect on your habits.
The following 15 questions should help you to classify:
- Do you often think about sports betting? Do you often think about new betting strategies or are you thinking about how you can get money for new bets?
- Have you tried unsuccessfully to restrict or better control your sports betting?
- Can you now only achieve the desired “kick” through increased stakes?
- Are you betting with significantly higher stakes than at the beginning of your sports betting period?
- Have you already had problems with your sports betting in relation to your partner, family members or friends?
- Did you hide your sports betting from other people or did you try to hide it?
- Have you had any problems at your workplace because of your betting behavior?
- Do you place sports bets to escape negative emotions, frustrations or problems?
- Have you ever been restless or irritable if you placed no or fewer sports bets?
- Due to gambling debts, have you placed bets more and more to win back your losses?
- Have you ever funded your sports betting through illegal activities?
- Have other people paid your betting debts because you were desperate because of your financial situation?
- Do you often have the impulse to immediately have to make up for losses?
- Do you only enjoy TV broadcasts of your favorite sport if you have placed an appropriate bet?
- Have you ever violated the terms and conditions of a bookmaker?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, then this indicates that your passion for sports betting is gradually getting out of hand.
Sports betting addiction: what to do before it’s too late?
In order not to run the risk of dependency in the first place, there are a few basic rules that you should follow in sports betting. This significantly minimizes the risk of a sports betting addiction.
- Always consider betting as a leisure activity. Sports betting is primarily intended to be fun and is not there to help you out of a financial bottleneck. Whoever bets with the intention of earning money puts himself under pressure and is massively at risk of falling into a vicious circle.
- Follow clear money management. It is essential that you always have an overview of your profits and losses. It is best to set a certain budget per day, per week or per month and stick to it strictly.
- Only indulge in betting if your private life really doesn’t suffer. Eating with your girlfriend or a cozy pub night with your buddies should always be more important than watching a third-rate tennis match in Mexico in front of the screen.
- Stay away from sports betting at work! No matter which game is currently running and how you would like to bet on it: betting during working hours is an absolute taboo. This will endanger your job and your livelihood in the long term.
- Since the rise of Netflix, the term “binge watching” has been on everyone’s lips. Transferred to betting, one could also speak of “binge betting” . In plain language means: Avoid hours of sports betting without a break. This spoils your judgment and is definitely not healthy in the long run.
- Sports betting and alcohol are not a good combination. The same applies to other intoxicants. Only bet with a clear head and an alert mind. Otherwise, you tend to take unnecessarily high risks and bet with stakes that actually exceed your budget.
- Your boss has once again harassed you, you come home frustrated and want to forget all the trouble with a few sports bets? This is a very bad approach! Never bet to forget about problems . Anger, grief or even depression are very bad passengers on the sports betting highway.
What do the betting sites do for player protection?
Bookmakers are repeatedly criticized because the problem of addiction risk is not taken seriously enough by the providers. The truth of course is that the betting providers want to generate as many customers as possible and benefit from high betting losses of the players. Nevertheless, it is standard for every reputable bookmaker to provide appropriate player protection. The providers want to prevent sports betting addiction of their customers with the following measures:
Limits for stakes and deposits: With almost no betting site, you can deposit unlimited amounts in one go. The betting providers set clear limits here. In addition, many online bookmakers now have the so-called self-limitation when betting. So you can specify in your profile settings what the maximum amount for a one-time use should be. This is supposed to prevent impulse betting with too high stakes. Changes to this personal betting limit are often only possible after a certain waiting time.
Self-exclusion for a limited time: If you notice that your betting behavior gets out of hand, then you can go into a so-called cooling phase with almost all betting providers. That means: you lock yourself for a certain period of time. Your account remains, but you cannot log in for a certain amount of time. The self-lock can only last a few days or several years – it’s up to you. But it is also clear that once the temporary exit has been applied for and confirmed, it can under no circumstances be reversed.
Complete self-blocking: You can of course not only be excluded from your trusted betting site for a limited time, but also for life. At this point we have to say clearly that not all bookmakers offer this. The regulations are sometimes very different. But the same applies here: once the decision is made and implemented by the provider, there is no way back. A new registration or reactivation of your betting account is then impossible for all time.
Limits for betting losses: There are now also betting sites where you can set a specific loss limit, similar to the betting limits . This can apply, for example, per week or per month. If you have already lost the specified amount within this period, it is no longer possible to bet again.
Contact person: If you find yourself having a problem with sports betting, you can always contact the customer support of your betting provider in a first step. The staff there are generally well trained in the subject of gambling addiction and can give you important advice. The bookmakers can also make contact with the appropriate advice centers on request.
How to find help with a sports betting addiction
According to current studies, sports enthusiasts between the ages of 20 and 30 are particularly at risk of addiction when it comes to sports betting. Problematic betting behavior can, in principle, develop with any player – regardless of age or social background. But what to do if the addiction is too advanced? How should those affected react?Similar to other addictions, the same applies to sports betting addiction: Insight is the first way to improve. Be honest with yourself and be open about your problem. Talk to your partner, family members or friends. A gambling addiction is neither exceptional nor has one to be ashamed of this disease. The only thing that is important is that they take the right measures as quickly as possible.
As mentioned briefly above, you can of course always contact the customer service of your betting site. Of course, this should not be seen as a long-term helpful measure, but as a first step . The support staff know your situation and will, for example, ensure that your betting account is deactivated for the time being. If necessary, the bookmaker’s customer service will also refer you to a suitable institution or advice center where you can get professional help.
Whether the treatment can be done on an outpatient basis (for example with regular therapy sessions) or whether experts even recommend an inpatient stay in an addiction clinic depends very much on the severity of your sports betting addiction.
In the case of contact points for those affected, a basic distinction is made between three institutions: self-help groups, advice centers and clinics . The advice centers are usually the first point of contact. The advantage here is that the experts on site also offer help for partners and family members of addicts. Because it is often not the people affected who recognize the addiction, but the relatives. At the counseling centers, gambling addicts are also given support in clearing debts if necessary . Incidentally, since gambling addiction is an undisclosed clinical picture, health insurance companies cover all costs.