Will mobile sports betting make gambling addiction easier to hide?

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Mobile sports gambling is underway in Indiana. Phone applications just became available today. It’s expected to provide 90 percent of the state’s sports betting income.

Statistically, 95 percent of people won’t become addicted when they gamble. However, some do fear the convenience of doing it on your phone may make this addiction easier to hide.

“People still are really hesitant to come forward," said Christina Gray, the Executive Director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling. "It’s kind of a silent addiction.”

The Indiana Council on Problem Gambling won’t take a stance on the new law.

“We stay neutral on all gambling because like, for most people it’s their entertainment,” said Gray.

For those who do develop an addiction, the state is giving 3.33 percent of the sports betting tax to an addiction services fund. The council isn’t sure that’s enough.

“We’ll see, time will tell," said Gray. "But I think more could be set aside simply because of that 3.33% only 25 percent of that is actually guaranteed to go toward problem gambling.”

The state expects to make the most money from this mobile option.

“In fact, 90 percent of all the income on sports betting comes from the mobile app," said State Sen. Ron Alting. "Not the people who visit the casino.”

However, no one knows how much it will make the state overall.

“We are very curious to see what our number is going to be. At the beginning of the session it was two million then it grew to 8 million and then 22 million,” said Alting

Alting doesn’t think this new law will increase gambling addictions in Indiana.

“Whoever is addicted to gaming is already in the casinos already doing black jack, roulette, craps, etc. or booking with their local bookie on the sports betting,” he said.

According to the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling, signs of gambling addiction include mood swings, missing work or important events and only talking about gambling wins, never losses.

"They will also increase their bets,” said Gray. “The family needs to know how to deal with a problem gambler and if the problem gambler is not going to get treatment, how to deal with them and not enable them.”

Gam-Anon is one resource for families of gambling addicts.

“But unfortunately, there’s not a lot of meetings in Indiana,” said Gray.

The council said best case scenario, this new law brings more attention to the gambling addiction and maybe even more resources.

Click here for more resources regarding gambling addiction.

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