Sports Gambling Can Be More Addicting, Says Study

University of Guelph has published its latest study on the Ontario gambling scene. According to new the study, sports gamblers are much more vulnerable to develop problematic gambling habits compare to any other bettors. The study was conducted by psychology professor Harvey Marmurek, and master’s students Alysha Cooper and Katrina Olfert.

Compulsive gambling is an issue that should not be underestimated, developing such conditions could harm not only the gambler himself but his close ones too. The study comes at a time when Canada is pushing hard for the legalization of single-event betting and its introduction may impose more harms to the vulnerable bettors and the ones who are already experiencing some difficulties.

Sports Gamblers Surveyed

For this research over 1,280 self-identified gamblers from Ontario have been surveyed. Out of that amount 596 have engaged in sports betting activities in the last year and were asked to score themselves on the known signs of compulsive gambling. Such indicators include placing large amounts of money when excited, or if the gambling habits have caused problems in financial, health, or relationships aspects.

Professor Marmurek said that the participants in the study were surveyed for their motivations, cognition, and impulsivity. He stated that sports gamblers are higher on an intellectual challenge as motivation, and they also show higher overall impulsivity. The study shows that sports gamblers are mainly young males, who are more involved in sports gambling and are more vulnerable to compulsive gambling.

The researchers came to the conclusion that sports wagering is not entirely to blame, but rather the personality and the behavior of the individuals that are attracted to it. Mr. Marmurek explained that sports bettors prefer sports gambling as they believe they are going to win and do not see the harm of it. Also, those individuals have a more positive attitude towards sports betting, in comparison to regular gamblers.

Mr. Marmurek further said that sports gamblers tend to lose control when they are on a winning streak or when they are excited while watching their team winning. He also addressed how the current single-sports wagering introduction can affect gamblers. He stated that the study is not connected to Bill C-218, but believes that if passed by the legislation, even more work should be done on compulsive gambling.

Canada’s Single-Sports Betting

And speaking of individual sports wagers, Canada seems to be even closer to its official introduction. Last week, Bill C-218, which would amend the gaming law to allow single-sports wagers, has been formally introduced to the Senate. Conservative Sen. David Wells is the sponsor of the bill and he stated that he would do his best, in order fall all senators to understand the bill and its ramifications.
After its debut in the Senate, the bill saw even more support. This week, the Canadian Gaming Association urged the legislation to accelerate the review process and deliver its verdict sooner. The association is worried that while land-based casinos are closed, gamblers will continue to pour their money into unsafe and unregulated online gambling platforms.

Source: Diamantakos, Rinna “Sports bettors run a higher risk of becoming problem gamblers, according to new study”, CTV News, May 11, 2021

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