Sports Betting

Florida’s Gambling Hotline Calls Have Doubled Since Online Sports Betting Relaunch

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Florida Gambling Hotline Calls Have Doubled Since Online Sports Betting Relaunch

Gambling hotline calls in Florida have doubled since the relaunch of online sports betting in the Sunshine State, according to a spokesperson for the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG).


Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling has seen a 138% increase in the number of calls, minutes

FCCG has seen a 138% increase in the number of calls and minutes made to the organization’s hotline, 1-888-ADMIT IT. 

“The volume has just exponentially more than doubled overnight,” said Jennifer Kruse, executive director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling. “We try to do our best to make sure that every call doesn’t go unanswered.”

Richard Pinsky, who has 35 years of government affairs experience in Florida and Washington, D.C., told CBS12 News in a recent interview that calls to the helpline usually increase following major sporting events.

However, bettors are not alone in seeking out public assistance. The helpline is also seeing a spike in family members of those suffering from problem gambling reaching out for services, Pinsky added. 

“When you have an online component now that’s available at your fingertips, you no longer have the obstacles that prior to Florida allowing online sports betting those obstacles are no longer in place,” Pinsky said.

Furthermore, Pinsky also mentioned that sportsbooks should be pushing for more rigorous regulations on advertising towards young people. This falls back on Tallahassee lawmakers to advocate legislation.

Richard Pinsky says young adults are “the most susceptible to falling victim” to a gambling addiction

Although gambling can become an addiction for any individual, parents of older teens should focus all efforts on protecting their kids because they are the most susceptible to falling victim to this addiction, Pinsky noted.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), “2.5 million U.S. adults (1%) are estimated to meet the criteria for a severe gambling problem” each year. 

Another 5-8 million (2-3%) would be considered to have “mild or moderate” gambling problems. Approximately “85% of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives, with 60% having gambled within the past year,” per NCPG.

“We believe, nationwide, the rate and severity of gambling problems have increased across the United States since 2018,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of NCPG. 

“We have every reason to believe the growth of online sports betting is a major contributing factor to the increase in gambling problems,” Whyte said.

According to the FCCG, although the majority of bettors (98% of the population) can gamble for recreation without obsession in Florida, the prevalence of compulsive gamblers is about 2%.