Sports Betting: has the addiction taken over RHS students?

Sports betting has become exponentially more popular in recent years. Social media, specifically TikTok, has made sports betting more popular than ever before. Some creators on TikTok have gained hundreds of thousands of followers posting only content about betting. Sports betting is becoming legal in more states across America, New Jersey legalized sports betting in June 2018. Sports betting is most commonly done online through DraftKings and FanDuel. In order to bet, one must be 21 years or older and provide a social security number proving so.

Sports betting is certainly a slippery slope. If sports betting was some sort of get rich quick method, then the sportsbooks would not be successful. Sportsbooks are extremely smart and know how to hook their customers. For example, when one first joins DraftKings, multiple free bets and other promotions are available. The bettor is prone to betting more, because the promotions force them to believe they can win. Also, the fact that sports betting can be done online makes it extremely addictive. Bettors no longer have to travel to Las Vegas casinos, instead, bettors can simply log in to their account and bet with large sums of money. For instance, one bettor placed a 4.5 million dollar bet on the Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI.

A lot of teenagers are getting into betting. Specifically, at Ridgewood High School, many male students are beginning to bet illegally. The students obtain a guardian’s social security number and place bets with it. One student at RHS told me, “I was up hundreds of dollars and just like that, I was down nearly 500 dollars. It is definitely a bad habit and the second I break even again I am quitting.” Clearly, sports betting has not had a positive impact on students at RHS. Sports betting is a gateway to a gambling addiction. Furthermore, DraftKings has a casino connected to its sportsbook. This means that kids who bet can also gamble on the online casino. This is an extremely dangerous outlet for teenagers. And, most sports bettors do not end up making profit. For example, only 3% of sports bettors are profitable in the long run.

Parlays are taking over the sports betting world. A parlay is a combination of multiple bets. This increases one’s winnings if the bet were to hit. For example, if you bet on 10 things to all happen and one missed, you’d lose all your money. However, if you bet on 10 straight bets and miss one, you are extremely profitable. Parlays are attractive to kids because of how much you can win. For instance, one could place a 5 dollar bet and end up with $5,000. Popular sites like Bleacher Report often post parlays that won people thousands of dollars. This encourages bettors to put money on parlays. Although there is a high reward, the risk is not worth it. One student at RHS told me, “I think that it is causing people to go down the wrong path.”

Another negative aspect is that sporting betting is extremely time-consuming. Most students I know often watch the games that they bet on. Watching multiple sports games a night takes time away from completing homework or exercising.

Ultimately, sports betting is gaining traction across the nation, specifically in young adults. The spread of sports betting is dangerous and is bad for teens. If one is over 21 and wants to bet for fun every once in a while, it is understandable. However, kids betting multiple times a day is dangerous and can lead to addictions. Hopefully, the spread of sports betting will slow down in the near future.

Thomas Gluckow

staff writer

Graphic: Name of Illustrator

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