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Potential Online Betting Legalization Supported by Missouri’s Pro Sports Teams May Provoke Gambling Addiction Escalation

Missouri’s professional sports teams As Missouri’s professional sports teams unite under the common goal of legalizing online sports betting in the state, concerns over potential spike in gambling addiction remain valid. An initiative petition, led by St. Louis Cardinals and backed by several other baseball, football, soccer, and hockey teams aims to push for signing betting bills into law. While the authorization of sports betting is often heralded as an infallible source to boost state tax revenue, the Missouri Legislature has turned down such bills for years.

As reported by KSDK, the coalition formed by Missouri’s pro sports teams has asserted that legalized sports betting would produce “tens of millions” in gambling tax revenue. This claim, however, has been overthrown by the Missouri Joint Committee on Legislative Research’s estimations pointing to an annual tax revenue within the range of $7 to $15 million.

As the developments in other sports betting jurisdictions across the United States have demonstrated, the revenue growth may come at a high cost considering the potential escalation in gambling addiction cases, aggravated further by aggressive advertisements and hassle-free accessibility.

As reported by CasinoGamesPro, the recent legalization of online gambling in Florida has triggered a vast surge in gambling addiction hotline calls. New Jersey is yet another state caught in the grips of gambling addiction prevalence exceeding more than three times the national average. According to the findings of a study, one in every 50 West Virginians grapples with gambling addiction issues.

St. Louis University Psychologist Comments on Missouri’s Readiness to Meet the Demands of a Legalized Sports Betting Market

Dr. Jeremiah Weinstock - clinical psychologist at the Department of Psychology of Saint Louis University Dr. Jeremiah Weinstock, a clinical psychologist at the Department of Psychology of Saint Louis University, has commented on the effect of gambling on dopamine production in the brain. More specifically, he referred to the so-called risk-free bets, which betting companies use to trigger punters’ interest in placing more sports wagers. This, coupled with the easy accessibility of sports betting, poses a reasonable threat to people struggling with gambling addiction, according to the professor. Dr. Weinstock further highlighted that easy accessibility was an essential element in any other addiction.

Weinstock also discussed whether Missouri was prepared to meet the demands of a legalized sports betting market. He said that if the same escalation in gambling addiction cases occurred in Missouri, the state might be lacking the necessary resources to tackle them properly.

According to the findings of a 2021 Survey of Publicly Funded Problem Gambling Services in the United States, Missouri spends two cents per capita in terms of gambling addiction resources, as opposed to the national average of 37 cents per capita.

Aside from the insufficient funding, Dr. Weinstock mentioned the state’s dated system in terms of gambling addiction treatment.

Against the backdrop of these challenges, the Missouri sports team coalition stated that it has collaborated with the National Council on Problem Gambling to formulate best practices that might be successfully implemented in the state’s legal sports betting market. As the teams said, they were united by the goal of inhibiting the proliferation of illegal offshore betting operators and generating revenue for Missouri education.

If they attain the desired result, Dr. Weinstock shared that Missouri could follow the example of other states and allocate a substantial portion of its sports betting revenue to gambling addiction resources.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.