With Super Bowl 58 just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the biggest sports betting event of the year. As gambling continues to grow in popularity, an estimated 26% of Americans are expected to place bets on the game. While some may see it as a fun way to enjoy the festivities, others are concerned about the potential rise in gambling addiction that comes with it.
In Billings, Montana, Shooters Bar and Grill is buzzing with excitement as people like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepare for the big game. “I came here to have a beer and a shot, just to kind of loosen up before the festivities begin,” Burns said on Sunday. “I bet big” added Curley.
But not everyone is taking part in this form of entertainment. Matt Perdue, medical director for Frontier Psychiatry in Billings, says that while only about 1% of Americans are believed to have a gambling disorder – which translates to around 3.4 million people – there are concerns about easy access through mobile platforms that often incentivize getting started with betting.
Perdue also points out that Montana has followed this national trend over the past few years with record-breaking revenue from gambling each year. “It’s an area of concern for us to monitor and really see how things play out,” he said.
Despite these concerns, Burns sees sports betting as just another way to have some fun and even if he doesn’t always win. “For the most part, I’ve got self control,” he quipped. “I’ve had a few losses where I’ve woken up the next morning and said, ah, let’s not do that again.”