The Real-life Dangers of Daily Fantasy Sports

Added Dangers of Online Gambling

In its definition of gambling addiction or “pathological gambling,” the American Psychiatric Association does not distinguish between where the activity takes place—that is, at traditional venues like casinos or racetracks versus over the internet. However, there are attributes of online gambling that make it potentially more dangerous for adults with a gambling addiction and more accessible to teens and young adults, particularly college-age males, who constitute a growing portion of the online gambling population.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Worth the Risk?

Believing a gamble involves more skill than chance sets up susceptible people to develop addictive behavior. Highly popular daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites seem to be just that — games of skillfully choosing your team for the best odds, but the Council on Compulsive Gambling has called DFS an “alarming and disturbing trend.”

One reason DFS sites are of particular concern is the younger age of its typical participants. It’s certainly easier for a young person to engage in online gambling than in the more regulated in-person gambling at a casino, for instance. Further, fantasy sports sites allow daily participation, which can quickly create a problem. By continually reinforcing the gambling activity, new pathways form in the brain associated with the pleasure and satisfaction of occasional wins. In other words, physiological changes occur in the brain and an addiction is born.

Consequences of Online Fantasy Sports Addiction or Other Gambling Addiction

If you find yourself preoccupied with these games, lying about time and money spent on fantasy sports, or believing your luck will change with the next game, you may be on the path to gambling addiction. Consequences are often dire, including:

  • Ruined relationships
  • Lost jobs or work-related setbacks
  • Financial ruin
  • Legal problems
  • Vulnerability to developing substance abuse
  • Poor general health
  • Mental health issues esp. Depression
  • Suicide

It can be extremely hard on family members, too, and children of parents with a gambling compulsion are up to 10 times more likely to develop a gambling problem themselves.

Treatment For Online Gambling Addiction

Appropriate treatment for online gambling addiction is still being researched, but a combination of treatments for traditional gambling addiction and for Internet addiction seems to work best.

For more information or immediate help the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER is a good place to start.

To reach the 24/7 Access Center call: 800-933-3579

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