How to Overcome Sports Betting Addiction: Strategies and Support

Are you — or someone you know — struggling with sports betting addiction? This is a serious issue that too many people go through without seeking help. True thing, letting the problem go unchecked can wreak havoc on your life. 

But believe us, help is out there, and it can make such a huge difference if you just seek it out. It can be life changing, really!

In this article, we’ll help you recognize the warning signs of gambling addiction. We’ll also give you personal advice that can make all the difference.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are facing some gambling issues, find all the available for free resources here.
  • Discover fellow help-seekers testimonials you can perhaps relate to.
  • If you’re unsure about sports betting addiction, see if you relate to our list of red flags.

Signs and Symptoms of Sports Betting Addiction

Knowing the symptoms and warnings of sports betting addiction is the first step towards resolving the issue.

If you don’t realize it, you’ll get so deep in the hole, and potentially have a much harder time getting out. Fortunately, there are plenty of alarm bells you can tune into. 

  1. If your betting is getting more and more frequent, and with larger and larger stakes, that’s an indicator that addiction is creeping in. Going bigger isn’t the main issue, but continually upping the game could be. It is often referred to as compulsive gambling, which suggests you really can’t stop. 
  2. If you, or someone you know, begins to be dishonest about online gambling, that suggests that there’s an issue. Ordinarily speaking, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, so feeling the need to misguide those around you means there may be a struggle beginning. 
  3. Mood swings, irritability, and anger towards outcomes are other red flags for addiction. Those can be attributed to other issues, but if you’re betting, and you experience these things, they might be working in tandem. Mental health issues also arise as a result of this gambling behavior. 
  4. If betting takes precedence over other things in your life, there might be an addiction already. If you are thinking more about your next wagers than anything else, you may need to stop gambling and try to get things in check again. 

Lia Nower, a professor and director of the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University, said via The Hill:

Gambling is not like alcohol or drug addiction. With gambling, I can be sitting with my kids, watching cartoons, and gambling away my house, my car, everything I own, on my mobile phone. How would you know?

Personal Stories: The Reality of Addiction

Most people gamble to improve their status and their belongings, not the other way around. Some people have gambled and stolen to finance the habit, being hit with legal punishments eventually. I have also heard of people losing their homes over this, and that happens more often than you’d think. 

If you’re struggling with this, know that you are far from alone. Many prominent people have been down this same road, and they have experienced what you or someone around you might be experiencing. 

Personal anecdote: Lost money situation

Let me tell you the story of someone I knew personally who was addicted to gambling. After losing a pretty substantial amount, they had to trade in their car for something about $10,000 cheaper. They could no longer afford the vehicle and had to downgrade, which is never fun.

→ Recently, I’ve heard that their financial situation has improved. I also know they don’t engage in sports betting anymore, and they found new hobbies instead: tennis lessons to name one, as a matter of fact.

Story of golfer Phil MickelsoN

Legendary golfer Phil Mickelson has long struggled with sports betting addiction, and he recently opened up:

I was so distracted I wasn’t able to be present with the ones I love and caused a lot of harm. This lack of presence has been so hurtful. ‘You’re here, but you’re not with us‘, is something I’ve been told often throughout my addiction.

→ As of today, Phil Mickelson is doing much better after years of struggling. Of course, he got external and professional help to do so.

Personal anecdote: Out of control situation

I know someone who said that their family admitted that they hardly even knew them anymore because of the addiction they were going through. It takes a lot out of people. Hopefully, this person ended up seeing a mental health professional to gain control again over their gambling activities.

→ As of today, they are doing much better! They confessed to me taking now strict measures when they have to place a bet, and that they still enjoy online betting very much. Now they don’t feel the urge to gamble that they used to.

With budget and time limits defined in advance with their life partner, they enjoy their passion sensibly.

The First Steps Towards Recovery: Acknowledging the Problem

Specialists say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. For us, this is true, especially in sports gambling. 

How would you stop if you don’t understand the gravity of the situation? After all, you are just having fun and making money, right? Why not continue, then? That is where the issue is!

From a psychological perspective, it also makes sense. You’ll also agree that to be able to help someone, first, you need to know that they need it.

A manager at Aspenridge Recovery, a rehab center located in Lakewood, CO, believes there are mental factors behind confessing: 

Admitting there is a problem creates a healthy mindset to begin working on many difficult components of addiction, which were previously avoided or otherwise ignored. Admitting there is a need for a change is certainly not easy.

For this reason, talk therapy and other treatment modalities aim to support a person as they discover the truths of their substance abuse habits.

10 Tips to Apply Now: Immediate Actions for Sports Betting Addiction

Overcoming addiction to sports gambling is not an easy feat. As mentioned, this is a unique issue that often can’t be solved the same way other addictions can be. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get on the road to recovery.

1. Take a Moment

Once you’ve admitted that you’re having difficulties — which is step zero effectively, you need to take a moment to assess. You can’t rush into the solution, and you also can’t ignore it for a while.

You absolutely should get moving on the rest of the steps, but you need to stop, breathe, fix your betting behavior and plan.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Boundaries are vital for sports gambling, and that’s especially true if you have an addiction. Whether it’s financial limits — such as a gambling budget, or time limits. Perhaps a time limit on the online sportsbooks on your phone.

You have to set clear boundaries and adhere to them strictly. 

3. Seek Immediate Support

As soon as you’ve admitted there’s a problem, you must immediately get help. This doesn’t have to be calling the National Gambling Hotline. It also doesn’t mean signing up for therapy. You absolutely can do that, but it’s significant that you do something first.

Talk to a family member or a close friend of your gambler status at the very least once you realize there’s trouble. 

4. Schedule Alternative Activities

Spare time can be tough for anyone dealing with an addiction. That’s time that could potentially be spent getting bets in or researching a future wager, so be sure to find other things to do.

Schedule activities and meetings, sit down to read a book, practice a sport you like, watch a movie or do anything else to fill that time with things that will keep your mind off the issue at hand. 

5. Educate Yourself

We believe that education is the key to more success in sports betting, but it is also key to overcoming addiction. Spend some time learning what sports betting is about, or learning what the addiction symptoms are and how to avoid relapsing.

Nowadays, countless solutions to treat gambling are available online, such as:

  • Hotlines
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Gamblers anonymous group meetings
  • Informative videos
  • Responsible Gambling measures applied in most reliable sportsbooks

This will go a long way towards keeping you out of trouble once you overcome the addiction. New York’s Office of Addiction and Support has tons of resources for you: hotline, cognitive behavioral therapy, gamblers anonymous group meetings…

6. Unsubscribe from Betting Sites

This step can be the hardest one for anyone to take, but it’s perhaps the most necessary. Delete all betting apps on your phone. Remove the bookmarks on your computer to any gambling sites or sports betting sites. Unsubscribe from any news sources like that.

FOXSports often gives sports news with a betting slant, so it may be best to ignore them entirely. Try to avoid as much as possible any news related to your favorite sports team (at least, temporary).

7. Avoid Gambling Triggers

The biggest trigger for sports gambling is probably watching sports at all. If you’ve become addicted, it shapes how you see things. Every point is going towards the over/under, and the rest of the game has the same slant.

If you’ve become addicted to sports gambling, it’s best to avoid any triggers by not watching sports anymore or not alone. 

8. Financial Management

A key part of overcoming gambling addiction is budgeting and managing the financial aspect. That’s the physical loss that comes with this struggle, and to avoid it, you can set a budget and keep a close eye on all money.

Having a bankroll dedicated to your sports bets bets ahead is the best way to manage your finances properly.

Mint is a fantastic budgeting service that will help you keep things running smoothly through all this. 

9. Record Your Feelings

Journaling is a tried and true method for helping overcome issues. You can stop your gambling addiction by journaling about it. This gambling addiction treatment really helps!

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare says:

Writing down your thoughts and emotions can create a sense of freedom and release. Recovery journaling is an important process that can promote healing. This process allows you the freedom to express your joys, sorrows, and frustrations.

There is no pressure and no judgment of what you write about.

10. Plan for Urges

You will undoubtedly get urges, as addiction becomes a lifelong battle in most cases. You need to plan for them, so have activities set up for when you feel the urge — like going for a walk in the park or going to the movie theater.

Also have a designated person to call, similar to A.A., when you’re feeling it. This will help prevent relapse and let you regain control of your life. 

Seeking Professional Help and Resources

A lot of the above tips and steps for helping to overcome and manage addiction were self-management. You can do this, you can do that. But there are things you can go to that require external help: support groups, professional resources and more are out there.

After all, who better than a professional to listen to you and give you advice on how to fight your addiction?

Finding the Right Support System

There are plenty of options for a professional support system. Having a support system of friends and family is great, but it’s one portion of getting help. Look for problem gambling support groups near you (like Alcoholics Anonymous for drinking problems).

Getting therapy is another really great way to overcome this, and therapy is everywhere, even online! American Addiction Centers has plenty of rehab options for you as well. 

Utilizing Online and Community Resources

As I mentioned, therapy is online and there are online communities that are designed for people struggling with this common issue.

  • BetterHelp is one of the most prominent online therapy sources, and it’s considered excellent.
  • HealthLine vetted them and came to the conclusion that they’re a safe, valuable resource. 

Maintaining Recovery and Preventing Relapse

Getting help for the struggle at hand is only one part of the solution.

Once you’ve overcome the addiction, you’re only halfway there. The second half is avoiding relapse and continuing the rest of your life clean.

That’s a big part that often brings its own unique struggles. It is frequently attributed to a gambling disorder, which takes a lifetime of effort to keep at bay. Once you regain control, you have to keep the gambling problem behind you. 

Building a Sustainable Lifestyle

The lifestyle you live after overcoming sports betting addiction is critical. Perhaps it was the crowd you hung out with or the environments you were in that played a role in aiding your addiction, and that has to change afterward.

  • Addiction Rehab Toronto suggests avoiding being alone, as that is one of the times when urges creep up and try to strike.
  • They also recommend setting life goals that you can only achieve if you don’t gamble. 

The Role of Family and Friends in Recovery

With all that said about finding professional resources and taking advantage of that, the impact that friends and family can and do have on this journey cannot be understated.

This is a difficult enough journey to undertake, and having friends and family that care and want to help you is an underrated aspect of the recovery process.

Sports betting addiction is dangerous and scary, but please know that you’re neither alone in this fight nor without weapons. There is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’ve compiled here a list of resources that can help you fight back.

All you have to do is take advantage of the available help. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, these resources can help you learn how to stop sports betting, even if that doesn’t seem possible right now.

You are not alone. Your friends, your family, your colleagues, your partners are here for you. Professionals or any external existing and dedicated help are here for you.

And to assist with your recovery, you can always count on TrustnBet to improve your ‘sport and bet’ knowledge on the matter!

Your trusted team, TrustnBet