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The Wave

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Photo credit to Anthony Delanoix via Unsplash under Unsplash License.
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Photo credit to 
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Photo credit to Sandro Schuh via Unsplash under Unsplash License. 
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Meme of the Day 04/18/24
Meme of the Day 04/18/24
Skylar Siems, Staff Writer • April 18, 2024

Sports Betting in Florida – Dangerously Addictive?

Photo+credit+to+Edeta+via+Pixabay+under+Pixabay+License%0A
Photo credit to Edeta via Pixabay under Pixabay License

For as long as competitive sports have existed, so has the activity of sports betting. Recognized all over the world, the idea of placing money or assets on sports teams against peers has introduced a new element of competition when spectating, and in the current age, has become much more available through online means.

Although still illegal in 12 states, sports betting continues to be rapidly legalized all around the United States, with Nevada being the first to legalize the activity in 1931. Since then, 37 more states have followed suit, with Florida being the latest on December 7, 2023. 

That being said, how does sports betting affect the country, and how will it affect Florida?

The American Gaming Association is worth over $60 billion dollars. Needless to say, gambling is a huge industry. Sports betting is available in some casinos but is more accessible and easier to do online. Being a primarily online service, sports betting used to be harder to regulate and only make sure that those participating were over the legal age of 21. Since it is now legalized, these illegal websites and apps now have more of an incentive to follow rules and attract more players legally. However, as of right now, the only legal sports betting app in Florida is an app by the name of Hard Rock Bet. 

Although the legalization of sports betting is bringing more money to Florida’s economy, larger concerns regarding mental health are arising as a result. In just one month since sports betting was legalized in Florida, the state’s official gambling help hotline received an increase in callers of 130%. According to statistics provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling, around 2 million adults (1%) are estimated to meet the criteria for developing a gambling addiction. Although it’s not the largest statistic, it is expected to increase in the coming years as a result of the legalization of sports betting and its increasing accessibility. 

Gambling addictions pose such a threat due to their tendency to affect an individual’s reward system in their brain. Furthermore, it causes financial strain or debt which can also affect the person’s family and friends. Unfortunately, only about 30% of gamblers fully recover, with the rest falling back into a spiral of bad habits. That said, most are already aware of the risks that occur from gambling and are most likely tourists who do not gamble regularly. 

Even with the spread of legal sports betting platforms, many illegal sources still remain threatening uneducated victims. Many websites and apps still lack regulation and allow anyone of any age to place bets, as online sports betting apps are difficult to shut down permanently. Moreover, allowing those who are underage to bet attracts larger groups to those sites or apps, increasing their traffic and income.

Though Florida’s economy may largely benefit from legal sports betting platforms even more than other states because of the amount of tourist locations, many still question the ethics of this legislation, as gambling addiction is expected to become a much larger problem for the state in the future as a result.

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Cade Scarnavack
Cade Scarnavack, Staff Writer
Cade Scarnavack is a junior at Marco Island Academy and a Staff Writer of The Wave. In his free time he likes to sleep and spend money on stuff he doesn't need. He plans on going to college but doesn't know where he wants to go or what he wants to study.
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