Mobile Gambling Turns Young Men Into Addicts

My Ocean Production /
My Ocean Production /

It starts so easily, five or ten dollars on the local football game, just to make it extra fun this weekend. Then it’s chasing that loss for Monday Night Football and rolling into the next game on Thursday. Suddenly these young men find themselves broke, and they don’t get paid for another eight days.

Now, a panel of experts at the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University School of Social Work claims that for men 18-24, this addiction is becoming all too real. According to their director, Lisa Nower, “You can be gambling away your house on your mobile phone sitting at the dinner table, and not a single person will know until the devastation of your whole family is complete.”

Coupled with free credits to start and lost bet forgiveness, these youngsters are getting the dopamine release from gambling which is a direct route to addiction. While other forms of gambling, like poker, feed the same addiction centers, those games are performed at a slow pace and require more thought. This means by not feeding the addiction center as fast, they are less addictive.

According to their study, nearly 1/3 of 18-24 year old gamblers place their bets exclusively online. As Nower explained, “The more people gamble, the more activities they gamble on, and the younger they start, the more likely they are to develop problems with not only gambling itself but also mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and suicidality.”

Watching the ads for these companies, it becomes increasingly clear that they have a goal of attracting youngsters, and they want to see them become addicted to their services. From Bet MGM and Ceasar’s Sportsbook, the national betting ads are nonstop. Given the billions these casinos are pumping into advertising, it’s no wonder they are becoming addicts.