Broncos, Seahawks and gambling

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take the field on Sunday Feb. 2, desperate gamblers will be focused on one number, the point spread. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest gambling events of the year. Some reports, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, indicate that as many as half of all American adults will place a bet on the game.

While most people who gamble are able to do so without harm, it is estimated that over six million Americans and 500,000 teens are addicted to gambling.

Signs of a gambling problem include:

* Using income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid

* Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling

* Breaking the law or considering breaking the law to finance your gambling

* Feeling depressed or suicidal because of gambling losses

* Arguing about gambling behavior with friends and family

Problem gambling often leads to financial devastation, poor health, substance abuse, depression and suicidal behavior. Nationwide, the social cost of gambling addiction is at least $6 billion per year.

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, says everyone who gambles should set a limit and stick to it.

It the betting on the game means too much to you or someone you care about, the most important number may be the National Gambling Helpline 1-800-522-4700. In Iowa you can also call 1-800-BETS-OFF or www.1800betsoff.org. In 2013 over 4,000 calls were logged to the Iowa helpline and 14,000 visits were made to the website.

You do not have to suffer alone. Hope and help are available anytime. Calls are free and confidential.

Message provided the National Council on Problem Gambling and your friends at Compass-Pointe Behavioral Health.