Problematic Online Sports Betting

The Wire Act of 1961 has governed online gambling in the US for most of its history. This law was written before the internet was even a whim, so it only applies to physical wagering, not digital ones. In 2011, the Department of Justice allowed states to pass legislation decriminalizing online sports betting. In 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting and ruled that the 1961 Wire Act still applies to legal online sports betting.

Risk factors for problematic online sports betting and race betting are similar. Those at risk are more likely to be male, younger, and have lower household income. They also tend to be non-English-speakers and are more likely to be semi-professional gamblers. In addition, these bettors are more likely to be addicted to illicit drugs and experience psychological distress. Some of these risks are related to their gambling behavior. Therefore, treatment for problem bettors must be targeted and offered in a variety of languages.

A range of interventions should be targeted to combat problematic online sports betting. The messaging should challenge the myth that one can earn money quickly through sports betting. These warning messages should be posted in several languages in the community. If a person tries to bet frequently, they should be shown dynamic warning messages. Limit setting functions should be prominently promoted on online sports betting sites. If they are struggling with their addiction, they should be encouraged to seek treatment.