With Super Bowl 58 right around the corner, many are gearing up for the many betting opportunities presented by the big game. While gambling can be an entertaining activity while watching the Super Bowl, it’s imperative that all players bet responsibly.
I spoke with two responsible gambling experts to collect tips and tricks for playing safely, sustainably, and responsibly during the Super Bowl and beyond.
Why Responsible Gambling is Important for the Super Bowl…Or Any Sport
Patrick Chester is a Program Facilitator for EPIC Global Solutions, a prevention-focused agency that educates at-risk populations about responsible gambling and the risks associated with wagering in general.
Patrick graciously agreed to share his story and his expertise. It’s not meant to scare or deter, but to put into context the threat that gambling can pose if it gets out of hand.
“I spent 15 years gambling, and my final bet was February 1, 2015,” Patrick said. “I was out of money, resources, and friends. I had burned almost every bridge possible, except my brother-in-law, whom I borrowed thousands of dollars from in early January of that year.”
During the peak of his gambling addiction, Patrick hustled together some additional cash. He ended up with $45,000. He put it all on the Seattle Seahawks moneyline for the 2015 Super Bowl.
Seahawks fans or NFL buffs probably know where this is going. With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Russell Wilson had a shot to score a touchdown. The Seahawks trailed by four points, and star running back Marshawn Lynch was in the backfield. It was a perfect storm. Then this happened.
“I watched the game with my wife, my brother-in-law, and my wife’s sister. They were all bummed because our team lost. But they didn’t know I just lost thousands of dollars of my brother-in-law’s money. It was the end of the road for me. Fortunately, a couple of days later, my family intervened.”
It was a tough road to recovery, but Patrick rebuilt his family and has steered clear of gambling since that day. In a mixed-up way, he’s glad the bet didn’t win.
“If I had won that bet, I would have dragged it out slightly longer. I was at an all-time low. It might have been a blessing.”
Now, Patrick travels the country on behalf of EPIC Global Solutions, sharing his story with student-athletes and other susceptible populations. “It’s never a lecture,” he said. “It’s about teaching and understanding.”
Patrick and Kindbridge Behavioral Health founder and CEO Daniel Umfleet shared their knowledge and expertise with Gaming Today so that you can bet responsibly this Sunday and beyond.
The Super Bowl Has Unique Risk Factors
Gambling and risk go hand-in-hand. When betting on the Super Bowl, there are added factors to consider.
Daniel said: “You see a huge surge of activity during the Super Bowl. There are additional risks because sportsbooks capture audiences that don’t typically bet. Those once-a-year bettors or new users are creating an account just to bet $50 on their team. Plus, all the advertisements are flashy, promising free this, free that. It’s hard to parse if you’re a new bettor.”
Meanwhile, Patrick cites the cultural impact of the Super Bowl as a big reason the game comes with extra risk for bettors.
“It’s practically a national holiday in this country,” he said. “And so, so much of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl is related to betting.”
The Super Bowl’s massive reach and exposure can put gamblers at risk, especially if they aren’t familiar with betting terms, odds, or available wagers.
Tips for Responsible Super Bowl Betting
How, then, can Super Bowl bettors play responsibly? Our experts gave us a few tips to keep in mind.
Set Your Limits and Stick To Them
If you have expendable income, it’s okay to place bets. Gambling can be entertainment. Patrick Chester says the number one way to keep it fun is to set and stick to your limits.
“Establish what your limit is,” he said. “How much can you afford to gamble? Set your parameters, and if you meet your limit or go beyond them, stop. That’s the key.”
What to Avoid
Daniel Umfleet advises novice bettors to stay away from the advertised parlays or special bets on sportsbook homepages.
“Operators are banking on getting new customers with these high-profile offers,” he said. “It’s their way of enticing new bettors to be locked into their platform. I advise signing in, placing the exact bet you want to place, and closing the app. Don’t spend time perusing the sportsbook.”
Don’t Know? Don’t Bet
This one’s especially for new sports bettors. Daniel says, “If you don’t know what it is, don’t bet on it. Casual or new bettors may not understand what a specific bet is. If you have to Google what it means, avoid placing a wager on it.”
Find Other Ways to Enjoy the Game
“Sometimes,” said Patrick, “it’s as simple as enjoying the moment with the people around you. Maybe you don’t see your friends as often as you’d like, and the Super Bowl is a reason to get together. Get into the game and have fun with it. Catch up with your friends.”
In other words, it doesn’t always have to be about betting. If outright gambling isn’t your thing, consider a friendly, non-competitive pool where everyone answers questions: How long will the national anthem be? What will the halftime act open with?
You tally the correct responses to declare a winner.
It’s Not All on You
Though many of these tips are focused on how you can shape your experience, it’s important to remember the onus isn’t just on bettors to curb problem gambling. Many businesses, such as EPIC Global Solutions and Kindbridge Behavioral Health, are pushing sports betting operators to do more and further protect players from the associated risks.
Responsible Gambling Resources
If you think you or someone you know needs help addressing a problem gambling habit or just want more information, please visit our Responsible Gambling page for additional resources.
National programs to help problem gamblers include:
- Gamblers Anonymous
- National Council on Problem Gambling (Hotline: 1-800-GAMBLER)
- International Center for Responsible Gaming
- Kindbridge Behavioral Health
Quotes from Patrick Chester and Daniel Umfleet have been edited for style and clarity.