Avoiding the big game like the plague…
Inside the mind of a recovering sports gambler
February 3, 2015
In just a few days, millions of people will tune in to watch a single event. It goes without saying, each year the NFL’s big game is the single most viewed sporting event on planet Earth. The country will turn its eyes towards San Francisco to watch the Panthers face off against the Broncos. It’s not just a big event, it’s a big business. This year a 30 second commercial will cost 5 million dollars. And money isn’t just being spent on ads, chips, dip, and beer. The biggest game of the year is also one of the biggest gambling events of the year.
Last year, Vegas broke records in respect to how much money was wagered on the big game. Vegas itself, made 20 million off bets. However, most money is wagered outside of Las Vegas. Whether it’s buying a square, betting on player production, or placing money on the various prop bets that surround the game, the opportunity for action is plentiful.
All the betting hoopla that’s surrounds the game makes it difficult for some Americans to enjoy the game itself. To better understand what this event is like for recovering sports gamblers, we interviewed a recovering gambler under the condition of anonymity. His name has been changed to honor his request. Here is an excerpt from our interview:
Kenny: As a gambler in recovery, do you watch sports?
Paul: I’ve tried, and it sends me into a bad place. So on Sundays during football season, you’ll find me at brunch with my lovely wife, or running some errand, or doing something. Anything to stay away from the television.
Kenny: So if you don’t watch sports, is this time of year hard for you?
Paul: I grew up loving sports. In high school, I was a three sport letter-man. Sports was my entire life. So naturally, as I got older, I couldn’t hang in there without getting injured. So that’s when I started betting on games. Now that I’ve sworn off sports, and sworn off betting, this time of year sucks. It’s like a big part of my life is missing and my counselor and I talk about how I need to fill in that hole with something else, since sports and gambling were such a big part of my life. Let’s just say it’s an uphill battle every day.
Kenny: What is it about something like the big game that makes it particularly challenging? What makes it a potential roadblock on your road to recovery?
Paul: For me, I know how much money is involved. I know about the prop bets, the line, the various bets, the whole deal. I know the opportunity and craze surrounding the big game. For gamblers, this is not only the [big game] for the NFL but this is the [big game] of gambling. The money out there is insane…. (stops and thinks…)
But when I was gambling, it wasn’t all about the money. I really enjoyed the planning and the research. I loved listening to all the morning shows and various other programs dissecting the game. I loved putting in the work, searching for any little clue that would give me the edge. And then watching the game…. ohhhh, was there no better rush than watching the game, knowing that if things go right, there is a pay day coming.
No better rush.
The whole process was part of my addiction.
Kenny: So what will you be doing during the game this year?
Paul: Well my wife likes the commercials, so maybe we will DVR it so we can just watch the commercials. I’m sure she’ll find something for me to do around the house. (laughs)
While the game will be enjoyed by millions, some people don’t look forward to it. For gamblers in recovery, all the attention focused on the big game can be a danger to the progress they have made in recovery. At the FCCG, we urge you to exercise caution and good judgement when enjoying this year’s game. If gambling is a problem for you or someone you love, give us a call at 888-ADMIT-IT.