The online sports betting industry in the United States is facing criticism from Americans who believe it is a bad bet for society, according to a new study. The study, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute and St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication, found that 65% of respondents believe online sports betting will create compulsive gamblers.
The research polled more than 3,000 U.S. adults to gauge their participation in online sports gambling and their opinions on the industry. The poll revealed alarming data points, including that nearly four in 10 bettors said they wagered more than they should have, and 18% said they lost money betting on sports meant to meet financial obligations.
Additionally, the study found that about four in 10 bettors said they’ve felt shame about their online wagering. More than half of bettors chased a loss by doubling the next wager to win back the last one lost. Almost a quarter of bettors said someone expressed worry about their betting, and 20% said they lied to someone about their gambling. Despite these worrying findings, only 9% of online sports bettors have called a problem gambling helpline or sought treatment through other resources.
The study also revealed that 39% of U.S. adults have bet on sports, and 19% have an online sports betting account. Almost 40% of young men aged 18 to 49 have an online betting account versus 20% of young women.
The industry is also facing backlash after television’s 60 Minutes ran a piece highlighting how online sportsbooks are allegedly using AI technology to stack the odds against their consumers in their favor and entice them to continue playing.
On the other hand, the American Gaming Association President Bill Miller told 60 Minutes that the increase in calls to problem gambling hotlines is because the industry is actively working to detect and assist consumers who have developed gaming problems. He emphasized that legal and regulated online sports betting operators are willing and motivated to protect consumers, as not doing so would be a multi-billion-dollar gamble for the online betting industry.