How to deal with and recognizing gambling addiction

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Since 2019, Iowans have been legally placing bets on sporting events, but 2021 marks the first time March Madness has been on the board.

Since sportsbooks became legal almost two years ago, the advent of mobile betting apps has made the activity even more accessible.

“I’ve been in the gambling industry for about a decade,” experienced sports better William Reynolds said.

Reynolds says he’s been sports betting most of his adult life.

“I’ve seen both sides of gambling. I’ve seen the winners and I’ve seen the losers. I’ve been on both sides as well,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said betting and honesty, should go hand in hand.

“If you have delusions of grandeur and think you’re going to be the next Vegas sports betting superstar you’re probably not. With gambling, you need to have your expectations in line. Some gambling is for entertainment. Some gambling is to find an edge. But at the end of the day, most gambling is going to result in a loss so you have to be honest with yourself,” Reynolds added.

That’s something a therapist with Heartland Counseling Services knows plenty about. She said there are a few key signs to recognize gambling addictions.

“If they’re chasing their bets, what happens is they may lose at the casino and they keep going back to try and win back what they lost. Are they spending money that’s needed for like bills to try to win big? Are they borrowing money? Are they hiding their activity?” Cindi Prather said.

That’s when experienced gambler Charlie Franklin III said it’s time for friends to step in.

“Help them out. Tell them ‘Hey, don’t do that or you’re going to be borrowing money from me tomorrow.’ Play with them, joke around with them but ultimately get them away from what they’re doing. Take them out of the setting. Get them away from the casino,” Franklin said.

Franklin said some easy-to-follow guidelines can help keep gamblers out of trouble like budgeting your money and having strict boundaries.

“That’s probably where I see most people mess up. They say I’m only going to do this. Then they start doing a little too much and then all of a sudden they’re going to the ATM or they’re thinking about other money they can use,” Franklin said.

If you like to play the odds, both Reynolds and Franklin say when betting, if you find yourself getting upset about the outcome of a game it may be time to take a step back.

If you or someone you know may have a problem gambling, here is a link to resources.

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