“With approximately one third of gamblers contacting the Helpline reporting that they have committed illegal acts to fund their gambling, (reported acts range from larceny, fraud, embezzlement to many others), employers should be more attentive to not onl
Altamonte Springs, FL (PRWEB) March 12, 2010
March Madness is rapidly approaching, and the amount of money that will be wagered on the games this year is mind boggling (the FBI reports that in excess of $2.5 billion will be wagered this year). In its finality, funds gambled could match or potentially exceed the amount wagered on the Super Bowl. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) encourages sports fans to be attentive to family, friends and colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties due to gambling, especially during this time of year.
“Basketball is a sport with wide appeal, for individuals of all ages, backgrounds and occupations. Betting on the games is also easily done, from home, bars, and the workplace and now, given the internet, virtually anywhere else”, warns Pat Fowler, Executive Director of the FCCG. “With the number of games played during these tournaments, the temptation to place bets can be almost overwhelming to excited fans.”
In fact, data collected by the FCCG’s HelpLine indicates that for the month of February, sports’ betting was the third most frequently cited primary problem experienced by callers, further substantiating the fact that seasonal events such as March Madness, the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby have a substantial effect on sports bettors in the state of Florida and particularly those already experiencing gambling problems. Additional HelpLine data indicates that among sports bettors:
- 97% are male
- 54% had committed illegal acts (30-35% is the norm)
- 49% report having problems at work due to gambling
- 35% have placed bets with bookies
- 35% wager online
- Average debt was reported at $58,450
According to the NCAA, more than 10% of Americans participate in March Madness “office pools”. “It is important to keep in mind that even small stakes office pools can have devastating impacts on employees who may be already struggling with a gambling problem,” states Fowler. “With approximately one third of gamblers contacting the Helpline reporting that they have committed illegal acts to fund their gambling, (reported acts range from larceny, fraud, embezzlement to many others), employers should be more attentive to not only the disruption these pools can cause for some employees, but also to the potential losses that can be incurred by the business through loss of time and productivity by employees who are engaged in March Madness office pools.”
The FCCG therefore urges the media, government, businesses, schools and others to be aware of the potential negative impacts during March Madness, to publicize the HelpLine number, 888-ADMIT-IT so that those who need help are able to access help resources, and to support those recovering from compulsive gambling during this heavily wagered sporting event.