Inside America’s Sports Betting Boom: Men’s Health Special Report

A FEW YEARS ago, it would have been unheard of for an NFL announcer to discuss which team the money line was favoring in the game they were covering, or for viewers to watch commercial after commercial from sports-betting apps during NBA games. Since 2018, 38 states plus D.C. have legalized sports betting as a quick way to increase tax revenue. No longer the shady pastime our dads did under the table, sports betting has exploded into a $7.5 billion industry (on track to become $182 billion by 2030) that’s become more accessible—and more embedded in our society—than ever.

But what does this mean for more than half of Americans who currently live in a state where sports betting is legal? According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the risk for a gambling addiction increased by 30 percent from 2018 to 2021, particularly among young men ages 18 to 24. To find out more, Men’s Health conducted its own survey of men across the country. Of those who have placed a sports bet in the past 12 months, nearly 1 in 5 allot a quarter of their paycheck to sports betting, 58 percent say that sports betting has affected their mental health, and 43 percent know someone who has or may have a sports-betting addiction.

It makes sense: With mobile sports-betting apps at people’s fingertips, as well as increased exposure to sports betting through sports broadcasts, sports-betting advertisements, and celebrity and athlete sportsbook partnerships, the temptation to bet is everywhere. And if we don’t start paying attention, we’ll potentially have a whole new generation of men with gambling addictions, which is linked to debt, depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

This brings us to our series of stories below, where Men’s Health reports on the dangers of America’s sports-betting boom. However, we’re not here to simply raise awareness about the issue. We’re here to help. Once you learn about the human cost of sports betting’s widespread legalization and how much money (or lack thereof) your state is allocating to problem-gambling resources, we have an expert-backed quiz to determine if you’re addicted to sports betting. If that quiz reveals some red flags, you’ll find stories from real guys on their paths to recovery, as well as tips to stop gambling for good, steps for paying off your debt, and treatment resources.

Sports betting as we’ve known it was just the beginning. It’s a whole new game now.

the sports betting boom
the mens health sports betting survery
the human cost of the sports betting boom
the big business of sports betting
are you addicted to sports betting quiz

how to combat your gambling addiction
the paths to recovery
five tips to stop gambling for good
how to pay off your debt

If you or someone you know may be struggling with a gambling addiction, contact 1-800-GAMBLER. Ready to take the next step? Book an appointment with Kindbridge Behavioral Health, and receive a 20 percent discount on your first therapy session using the code “MensHealth20.” Make sure to also include Men’s Health as the referral source on the intake form.

Headshot of Rachel Epstein

Deputy Editor

Rachel Epstein is the Deputy Editor at Men’s Health, where she oversees, edits, and assigns content across She previously held roles at Marie Claire and Coveteur. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.

This article was originally posted here.

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