The Supreme Court recently broke a long-time ban on sports betting, allowing individual states to pass legislation allowing sports books to open.
Amy Sechrist, Compass Mark’s certified prevention specialist, said this is an important issue for Compass Mark because problem gambling and substance abuse are so often intertwined.
“About 4 percent of adults and 6 percent of kids are addicted to gambling,” Sechrist said. “So that’s one or two kids in every 30-kid classroom.”
She also said it’s rare for an individual experiencing addiction to only use one substance or only have one compulsive behavior. Often, there are people who have never gambled in their life, but when trying to recover from the use of another substance or compulsion, find themselves drawn to gambling to fill a void.
“And so, with sports betting, it’s already so easy to do, and now it’s going to be even easier to do,” Sechrist said. “Increased access equals increased use, and whenever access is ever increased, we need to increase funding for prevention and treatment.”
Sechrist said with the recent ruling, this isn’t a question of the morality of gambling. “It’s really about whether it’s ethical to let so many people come to harm,” Sechrist said. “That’s the ethical part.”