Study Shows Sports Betting More Addictive Than Gambling

By Ben Hamill - May 17 2021

Study Shows Sports Betting More Addictive Than Gambling

An insightful new study published by the University of Guelph offers an interesting opinion on the connection between sports betting and problem gambling. According to the study, sports bettors are exponentially more prone to develop problem spending habits than any other form of gambling enthusiast.

The study, which was led by professor of psychology Harvey Marmurek, and co-authored by Master’s students Katrina Olfert and Alysha Cooper, is released at a time when Canada is anticipating the legalisation of single-event sports betting for the first time in many, many years. And from the study released by Marmurek and his team, it is clearly important that it’s an industry that must be managed with extreme care and caution so as to offer the necessary protection to vulnerable bettors and gamblers.

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Young Males Most At Risk

The survey studied 1,280 self-identified gamblers from the wider Ontario region. From this number, 596 confirmed that they had engaged in sports betting activities as recently as the last year.

Those who had bet on sports were then requested by the survey to allocate themselves a score and rating based on the “known” signs of addictive and/or compulsive gambling. Known signs include placing huge bets when in a state of excitement, acting more impulsively than normal when it comes to betting on sports, experiencing relationship, financial, or even health issues because of individual gambling habits, etc.

According to Marmurek, sports gamblers, who mostly fall into the category of young males, are more prone to higher overall bouts of impulsivity. This particular group also happens to be more involved in sports in general and are also much more vulnerable to compulsive betting on sports.

The Problem Is Personal

The research concludes that sports betting isn’t the problem in and of itself within the context of problem gambling and betting behaviour. Instead, the personality and characteristics of the person doing the betting appear to be the main triggers and problem instigators.

For this reason, says Marmurek, proper and more freely accessible education is key. And if Bill C-218 is indeed going to be passed, he adds, then even more work will be required in order to keep problem sports betting at bay through information and education.

Bill C-218 has in the meantime made it as far as being formally introduced to Senate. The Canadian Gaming Association has in the meantime urged for an accelerated review process due to the ongoing closures of land-based casinos and the dangers posed by the alternative, namely unregulated online casinos.

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