Addressing gambling addiction ahead of sports betting legalization in Kansas

Wichita, Kansas (KWCH) – With sports betting rolling out in Kansas in the next few weeks, you may want to download one of the many sports betting apps on your phone. Ads from some of these apps are already targeting Kansas before sports betting in Kansas becomes legal in early September. As with any kind of game, change builds excitement, but it can be problematic and addicting for some.

Sports betting has exploded in popularity nationwide. american gaming association About 30 states and the District of Columbia report having legalized it in some way.

As with any addiction, counselor Stephanie Roberts says it all starts in the brain.

“It affects the brain’s reward centers in the same way that cocaine and other drugs do. Told.

A member of the South Central Kansas Gambling Problems Task Force, Mr. Roberts has visited clients with gambling problems that can be life-threatening if not maintained.

“I used to have a client who was a sports bettor who placed a bet at every break. Easy access increases the risk. If someone has to drive somewhere to gamble, You have to make a few decisions, and when you have the phone in your hand because of the urge, it doesn’t take long and you’re in hot water,” Roberts added.

Eric Litwiller, of the South Central Kansas Mental Health Association, points out that while there is currently no evidence in the mental health field about what causes gambling addiction, addicts have some things in common. increase.

“People going to a casino for the first time don’t know if it’s what happens to them to toss a dime into the slot machine and walk away, or if putting a dime in the slot machine is the beginning of the game. Spiral, we don’t know in advance, but by studying people living with a gambling addiction, we know that there are certain mental health indicators that give clues. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or pre-existing anxiety or depressive disorders are prone to gambling addiction. From talking to people with addictions, I can see that they are some of the mental health markers we hold in common.

“People have lost their marriages, lost their jobs, gambled away their children’s college accounts…the damage is limitless and possible if it goes undetected,” Litwiller adds.

Roberts says it all comes down to knowing your limits if you decide to venture into gambling.

“Set a time limit, set a money limit. Only use the money you intend to lose and don’t think otherwise. If you can’t afford to lose, don’t bet.”

If you or someone you know is having a problem gambling, please contact the Kansas Problem Gambling Help Line at 800-522-4700.

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