ProblemgamblinglogoBetting on football can be no fantasy. With NFL and college games now underway, Rose Gruber with Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling said people should know that its prime time for sports betting – and when that gets out of control, the impact can be devastating.

“It isn’t always just for fun, and if you have someone in the family who tends to gamble a lot, you just want to be really cautious,” Gruber said. Most sports betters move from sport to sport as the season progresses, but football is particularly popular, and calls to the group’s gambling hotline often spike around Super Bowl.

Gruber identified some rules to follow for responsible gambling:

  • · If you decide to gamble, do so for entertainment purposes
  • · Look at the money that you lose as the cost of your entertainment
  • · Always set a dollar limit and remember to stick to it
  • · Expect to lose more than you win
  • · Promise yourself that you won’t gamble on credit
  • · Be sure you have some balance in your life – don’t make gambling your one and only activity
  • · Avoiding “chasing” lost money
  • · Don’t look to gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain
  • · Become familiar with the signs of problem gambling

“Probably 50 percent of the calls to our helpline are from family members who are noticing issues with a family member or a loved one,” Gruber said. And those issues often come to light through family finances. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimated that illegal wagers – mostly on sports – reach about $380 billion annually in the U.S. The Council on Problem Gambling Helpline is available at 1-800-GAMBLE-5.

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