Former New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, the legal champion in the Supreme Court decision to allow sports gambling, raises his hand while speaking on June 14, 2018 before Governor Phil Murphy placed the first bet at the Monmouth Park Sports Book on the first day of legal sports betting in the state.

Former New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, the legal champion in the Supreme Court decision to allow sports gambling, raises his hand while speaking on June 14, 2018 before Governor Phil Murphy placed the first bet at the Monmouth Park Sports Book on the first day of legal sports betting in the state.

In 2018, the NCAA college basketball tournament generated $10 billion in gambling, according to CBS. But the American Gaming Association says only three percent of those bets were placed legally. (Office pools are lawful in only a handful of states.)

Now, eight states have made betting on sports legal. And the use of mobile betting apps and video gambling signal the potential for further expansion.

But some are worried about the potential addictive effects of increased access to gambling of any kind.

Here’s journalist Jay Caspian Kang, writing in 2010 about how his gambling addiction has affected him.

I cannot really pinpoint the time when the idea of a gambling problem became more than a funny joke. Maybe it was when I blew through a year of savings from my teaching job in the course of two weeks. Or maybe it was when I had to pay for a half-gallon of gas in quarters. Maybe it was that day at Hollywood Park, watching the brightly colored fillies march past. But during those last months when I lived in Los Angeles and thought about nothing but leaving, I know that the fantasy of poker, the millions of dollars one could win and the easy-living lifestyle, had long since burned itself out. Only in losing could I find a story that made sense.

We talk with the director of “Action,” a new Showtime series on the legalization of sports gambling that features the stories of a successful female sports gambler in the male-dominated field and a psychiatrist who studies the effect of gambling on the brain.

Watch the trailer for “Action” here.

Produced by Avery Kleinman.

If you or someone you know need to talk to someone about gambling, call or text 1-800-522-4700 for the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network.

Guests

  • Luke Korem Director & executive producer, "Action"
  • Dr. Timothy Fong Program co-director, UCLA Gambling Studies Program; clinical professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA
  • Kelly Stewart Sports handicapper; @kellyinvegas

Topics + Tags

Most Recent Shows