The Superbowl is coming up and March Madness is around the corner, just two more big opportunities for online sports betting. With people home much more than usual, sports betting and online gaming has been booming. In December Governor Phil Murphy tweeted that sports betting smashed records this past December, earning more than 66 million for online companies like Fan Duel in the state.

However, sports betting, like all gambling can have serious consequences. Experts say online gaming and gambling addictions have exploded since COVID-19  probably due to social isolation combined with stress. Similar to binge shopping or eating, gambling is a “process addiction.” Just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, compulsive gambling can lead to a spike in pleasure chemicals in the brain called dopamine

More than 10 million Americans suffer from gambling addiction with the majority of these people being males from ages 18-24.  Some warning signs - if your gambling has affected your home life, work, or relationships, you have resorted to borrowing money or even illegal activity to pay back debts.  If you have tried to stop online gambling and had a serious withdrawal symptom when not playing, it could be a sign of a gambling addiction.

The good news is that help is available. The mission of the Council for Compulsive Gambling in New Jersey is to provide prevention, education, and referral services to anyone affected by this illness. Call them at 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or reach them at 800gambler.org